French Pass / Anaru

beautiful French Pass beach on an overcast day

French Pass / Anaru is a small beachside community and a modest-sized DOC campsite at the end of Croisilles French Pass Road, 70 km from State Highway 6. To add further naming confusion, the related bay is called Elmslie Bay. The bay faces northeast into Admiralty Bay, with Rangitoto ki te Tonga / D’Urville Island to the west.

The 400-metre-long beach is pretty, with crystal clear water and colourful sand. It is safe for swimming but can be a bit rocky underfoot and is used by boats. The campsite overlooks the beach at the west end of the bay, and there is a wharf about halfway along the beach. A boat ramp beside the campsite supports a barge service that takes people and 4WD vehicles to Kopowai Bay on nearby D’Urville Island for day trips and longer stays.

An unusual feature of the beach is the good number of weka wandering around without a care. Quite a change from ducks and seagulls as you enjoy your picnic under the pohutukawa trees next to the beach.

There was a caravan cafe when we visited, but you need to take supplies for a multi-day stay.

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