Last Updated: 17th Feb 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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Farewell Spit Loop

Collingwood, Tasman

Submitted by Stu Houston

Last Updated: 17th Feb 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 16 ?

Gnarl Factor: 73 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, small hills only



Open tussock/grasslands

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +0.5%

Average Downhill Gradient: -0.4%


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Estimated Times to Run







Park in the Carpark then the track goes onto the beach on the Golden Bay side and you run North to the junction of the start of the loop. Turn Left and run across the base of the spit to the Tasman Sea side of the spit. On the beach turn right (East) and run along the beach for approx. 3.4 km - there are no track markers, it is purely a beach run on hard sand.

When you come to a large DOC bollard sign with an arrow pointing right (South) DO NOT continue along the spit (it is a nature reserve & access is forbidden without a permit.) From here follow the marker posts over sand dunes (you gonna get sand it your shoes but just think this sand came from the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers !!) until you arrive at the beach on the Golden Bay side. Check your tides before departure as you don't want to be here at spring high tide ! Run back to the carpark along the beach and check out all the different seabirds!

Immense sand spit, endless sandy beach and on the Golden Bay side large populations of sea birds. Dodge the odd whale carcass !! This is one of New Zealand's most important and diverse Nature Reserves and though this part is not in the reserve this is an incredible run and insight into what is found within it.

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The Farewell Spit Carpark is a large DOC Carpark and is safe. There is no Public Transport to here.

24 km

27 minutes




There are no markers on the beach sections of the run so just follow your nose till you spot the DOC bollards, which can be hard to spot at low tide as beach is very wide.


Windproof jacket, First aid kit, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map

The spit resembles a desert and it is in terms of water - take water with you.

Farewell Spit is legendary for its winds - take a wind layer it can scream here and the sand blaster will strip paint!! Take water.

Stay on track & DO NOT venture amongst the dunes, especially near the many ponds - quicksand is lurking and is bloody dangerous. Watch for the trucks that take people out to the end of the spit and follow their tracks on the beach for the hardest sand. Don't go if a spring tide as the beaches disappear and you will be lured close to the quicksand areas.

Farewell spit cafe
above the carpark
A great view of the whole spit and planty of info about the spit ohh and good food and drink.

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Trail Reviews

Loooved the west coast side! It felt so remote despite being a few short k's from the carpark. Heard a frog in the wetland section which got me wondering how often the frog gets to meet other / new frogs. Passed three Farewell Spit Tour buses on my way back. Great wee loop, very different from my normal Chch fare :)

Matt Halverson

December 28, 2021

Beautiful run. Short and sweet, but amazing scenery. Classic wild and windswept west coast. Great to do later in the day, when the place is deserted. Even more special.

Steve Beatson

April 3, 2021

Awesome run around a very unique part of South Island. A top tip is to get there early in the day to avoid the wind, which gets pretty strong! The west coast side is amazing and it was great watching the sand blow over the beach ahead of us. The central section where you cross to the inside is cool with various plants and water holes. Tough running back to the car park into the wind, we drafted each other! Stuck close to the water for the firm sand.

Carys Coleman

August 9, 2020

Beautiful loop, quite different. Hard work if windy but rewarding.

Pete Marshall

August 9, 2020

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