Paekākāriki Escarpment Track

Paekakariki Escarpment Track is a section of Te Araroa on the Kapiti Coast and connects Paekakariki to Pukerua Bay. It has become one of the most recognisable and popular half-day walks on the North Island.

At 10 km long and a 200 metre climb, it is not terribly physically challenging, but it is often and rises high up the side of Paekakariki Hill. It overlooks the railway line, coastal road and the Tasman Sea. The hillside is mostly very steep and includes the odd cliff edge, plus short sections of moderately damaged track. There are also a lot of steps, especially on the southern side of the high point, none of which have handrails.

The views are the number one reason for doing the walk, with several lookouts and bench seats along the way. Other points of interest include a section of coastal kohekohe forest (flowering when we passed through) and various information panels describing the natural and human history of the area. There are also two swing bridges towards Pukerua Bay.

The track is mostly exposed to the elements, so try to choose a nice, calm day that is not too hot. As it starts and ends next to the local railway stations, you can walk one way and then catch the train back (check if you’ll need cash). We would generally recommend walking north to south, with the sun on your back in the morning. Allow 3 to 4 hours (lots of photo stops) for the walk, wear decent shoes, and take water and some food.

If you have limited time, quicker options include Paekakariki towards the high point, then return, Pukerua Bay to the swing bridges or the kohekohe forest, then return.

For the full details on each part of the track, check out our Paekākāriki Escarpment blog.

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