Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Tauranga Bay – West Coast, New Zealand

Just south of Cape Foulwind on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island lies Tauranga Bay with its sheltered beach and seal colony.

The West Coast tends to get typecast as wild weather and waves pounding on rocks. Cape Foulwind certainly has that, but in Tauranga Bay itself, with its vast sandy beach set against a blue sky on the day we visited, reminded me of the northern New South Wales coast in Australia.

The view from Tauranga Bay Beach looking north to Wall Island and the seal colony.

Tauranga Bay is only 13 minutes drive from the town of Westport. A track from the beach carpark winds up the bluff on the northern part of the bay. It is only 10 minutes walk to get to the viewing platform above the seal colony. From there is also excellent views of Wall Island with its abundance of seabirds, and the violence of the Tasman Sea against offshore rocks.

View of Wall Island from the seal colony walkway platform.

The seal colony walk is well maintained and there is no charge. The best time to visit the colony is from October to March. The weather is also free but with no guarantees. I recommend spending time in this part of the West Coast. It is quiet, beautiful and refreshingly unsophisticated.

The view north towards Cape Foulwind

Make sure your navigation app does not get confused between Tauranga Bay and Tauranga, otherwise it might be a long journey.

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