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Kawatiri River Trails, West Coast

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Kawatiri River TrailsBeginner

Submitted by Katie Smith

Info Info
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Trail Information





West Coast


Urban fringe


Totally/mostly flat

Native bush


1:00 (Slow)
0:45 (Moderate)
0:35 (Fast)



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This is a good little run around the Kawatiri River trails. These head out around the estuary then along North Beach before looping back again. They are well-used by people on foot and on bikes, so just keep an eye out. They are well-marked throughout, with frequent sign boards and maps.

Start by the wharf and have a look at all the fishing boats. Head east along the waterline, down past the boat ramps and the yacht club and rowing club buildings, heading for the boardwalk that is visible from the wharf. The tracks start by this. Head across the boardwalk then shortly afterwards take the first track junction to the left. This loops around past a fishing platform and the remains of an old wharf before rejoining the main track.

Take a hard left here and head on across the Volunteers Bridge and below the shipping marker. Here the track splits again - again take the lefthand option, heading along the river. The track pops out by a little river beach - run across the gravel and rejoin the trail. It splits again - stay left. After crossing a gravel road the track runs along behind North Beach. It is worth a quick detour out to have a look at the surf and huge driftwood piles.

Continue on the trail until it splits yet again - here it become single direction trail, and meanders back and forth through bush, with some loops almost doubling back on themselves (this bit is designed for biking but is open to runners). At the end of this track you come out by a freedom camping area, with toilets and a water fountain. Head back into the bike tracks (there are three options here - the one you arrived on and two others - take the middle option) and meander back again to the junction near the river beach. This time take the track on the left. After crossing another road take the lefthand option once again, and follow it until you reach the original boardwalk to the boat ramps and wharf, completing the loop.

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Features of interest

The estuary has a wide range of bird life, particularly at low tide - spoonbills, stilts, swans, shags, pukeko, weka and lots of gulls.

Make Up of Run

Easy Single Track: 95%

Sealed Road: 5%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

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  • Access

    Park at the far end of Palmerston St (the high street) near the wharf, or in the car park by the yacht club at the end of Queen Street

    Plenty of on-street parking

    2 km

    3 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    If you get confused there is never far to go to the next map board!

    Generally good.

    Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Cellphone.

    There is a water fountain at the far end by the freedom camping area

    The tracks are good in any conditions

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