Bruce Bay Mahitahi

Bruce Bay Mahitahi

Past Lake Paringa, heading north, you leave the surviving lowland forest and enter farmland in the river valleys, with forest confined to the mountains and steeper hills. After about 20 kms, you get to Bruce Bay Mahitahi, one of the few places on the drive to Hokitika where you directly access the coast.

This wild and remote bay is about 10 kms long and flanked by ancient rimu forests on the hills at either end, which is very photogenic. There is a high seawall protecting the road for much of its length, which you can park next to and scramble down to the beach. Note that the south and north ends are best at high tide.

Bruce Bay Mahitahi is also significant to Makaawhio, the local iwi of Te Tauraka Waka a Maui marae opposite the beach. This translates as the landing place of the waka of Māui, the mythical hero who dragged Aotearoa’s North Island, Te Ika a Māui (Māui’s fish) out of the ocean.

There were no sandflies, so it may be a more pleasant option if you want to hang around for a while. As with all the Westland surf beaches, swimming is not recommended.

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