The Paekakariki Escarpment Walk is a hiking gem of the Wellington region…if you like coastal walks this is one of the great Kapiti Walks. Part of the Te Araroa Walkway which stretches the length of New Zealand, this 10-kilometre hike runs between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay. The track traverses above State Highway 1 and the Railway Line, offering spectacular views of Kapiti Island and the Coast. Choose a fine day to do this walk as it’s quite exposed…pack some warm gear just in case the weather changes. Walking time is between 3 and 4 hours…the day I walked, young children were also on the track… it’s quite steep in places so I do recommend a good level of fitness.
Paekakariki Railway Station to Pukerua Bay Railway Station 10km, 3-4 hours
Like most Kapiti Walks, this can be walked in either direction…I suggest starting in Paekakariki as the climb is more gradual than walking from the other direction.
Starting on Beach Street or the Railway Station, Paekakariki…head across the railway line and follow the footpath south to the bridge approximately 600 meters. The track starts on the other side of State Highway 1, take the stairs down and under the bridge and follow the track which runs beside the railway line for about 2 kilometres, this section is relatively flat. From this point, the track zigzags upstairs and climbs gently to the high point of the walk, 200 metres above sea level. Not high in hiking or mountain terms, however, it’s a great place to stop…admire the view, have a bite to eat and take some photos. There’s also a water tank here where drink bottles can be refilled. The next stage descents steeply on stairs and heads south to the first footbridge. Not much further is the 2nd footbridge…from here the track winds gently through small sections of bush. The final stage follows the railway line to Muri Road. Cross the railway line and follow the footpath to State Highway 1, head south and turn left into Takutai Road and follow until you reach the Pukerua Bay Railway Station.
The map below gives a great visual on how to get to the start of this walk. If travelling by car there’s parking on Beach Street, Paekakariki or at the end of Takutai Road, Pukerua Bay.
Using public transport, take the Kapiti line to either Paekakariki or Pukerua Bay. For more information on train times, check-out metlinks journey planner.
What To Take
This walk is quite exposed, so I suggest taking some warm clothes, food and drink:
- Daypack (20-30 litres)
- Food and drink
- Waterproof and windproof raincoat
- Sturdy footwear
- Warm clothing: thermals and fleece
- Hat and gloves
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- First Aid Kit
Check our post on what to take hiking, with helpful links to apparel and equipment.
To print the above map, click on Paekakariki Escarpment Walk at the top of the map. The printing and PDF option at the bottom of this page will print or download the post except for the map. Once you’ve clicked the link the map will enlarging, click on actions, this will take you to the printing or export option. This is only a guide of the route…the track is well defined and very easy to follow. The only confusing part is the start and finish, however, if you follow the about information you will have no problems. Please feel free to add any comments below.
For more information on where the ascents and descents are. Plus the distance and height at any point on the map, click on Paekakariki Escarpment Walk link at the top of the map. This will enlarge the map. Then click the box to show elevation, the graph will appear below the map. Run your cursor over the elevation graph, this will display on the map where the ascents and descents are. It will also give you the distance and height at any point on the map. It’s a useful tool for planning your walk.
Learn more about NZ’s amazing walks!
Interested in seeing another South Island park? Take a look around the website to learn about other walks, such as The Abel Tasman National Park. It’s a great way to see the rest of the country.
Have a great walk 🙂