Places Travel

Wellington’s Coastal Red Rocks

Today my family and I thought we could explore Wellington’s coastal Red Rocks which can be found at the end of Owhiro Bay and Island Bay in Wellington.

In addition to the visitor center, there is also a car park where you can leave your car and start walking along the track. I was surprised to see a coffee cart there too, which was amazing because coffee sure helps!

Wellington's Coastal Walk Around Red Rocks walking trail
The Red Rocks walking trail around the coast

Wellington’s coastal walk around the Red Rocks, Pariwhero, is quite rugged and is about 7.4 kilometers and takes around 2 – 3 hours return . Of course that depends on how many times you stop to enjoy the absolutely amazing views.

Me at Wellington's Coastal Walk Around Red Rocks

There was even a sign saying that you might see some whales, orcas and seals along the way. I definitely hoped we would!

A sign saying you may see whales , Orcas and seals

We had our 7 year old son with us so we stopped quite often as he was getting tired especially on our way back. We came across some big bits of drift wood which made great seats!

It was a cloudy day but there was no wind whatsoever until a little bit later on.

What Is Red Rocks About?

I guess you’re wondering why the area is called Red Rocks right? Well there are actually beautiful red rocks out there!

Red Rocks around the coast
The Red Rocks

Māori legends say that the red coloration on the rocks is from when Maui stained the rocks with his blood, blood which he used to bait his hook before catching Te Ika a Maui – the North Island. Kupe wounded himself on the paua and Kupe’s daughters, the famous Polynesian explorer’s daughter’s fearing for their father’s safety, gashed themselves on the rocks. So to sum it up, the red on the rocks is blood! Interesting huh?

Big red rock we came across on our Wellington's long coastal walk
A big red rock!

We came across some really interesting rock formations along this south coast route. For the most part, the track is quite easily walkable as most of it is flat. Make sure you have good walking shoes on and keep in mind they might get wet.

The walking trail along Wellington's long coastal walk and Devils Gate
The walking trail and Devils Gate

We went on a Sunday so there was a lot of people out there also. Some were running, biking and some even stopped to do some fishing.

Finally, when you get to the ‘Devils Gate’, you should hopefully see some seals just laying about on the rocks like we did!

A seal on the rocks
We saw a seal!!

Getting There

From the city, catch a Metlink bus Number 1 Island Bay and get off at the very last stop. Or you can get a bus Number 29 Happy Valley/Owhiro Bay and get off at the last bus stop, while this bus doesn’t come very often, it will eventually.

For bus information, follow the link below –

Once you are off the bus, keep walking around the bays and you will see the Te Kopahou Visitor Centre . This is where the walking trail starts.

The visitor centre at Wellington's Coastal Walk Around Red Rocks
Te Kopahou Visitor Centre

All in all, it was a actually a great day out with my family exploring the coast and getting out into nature away from those screens! Do you think you would like to explore Wellington’s coastal walk around Red Rocks? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. The Red Rocks hike looks like a lot of fun. Between the diversity of the landscape, Devils Gate, the legend of the red rocks and the possibility of seeing seals and orcas, it looks like a great place to spend the day.

    1. It is great fun Donna, with a bonus of seeing wildlife!

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