2 - 3 hours
No dogs on this trail
Information for this trail was last updated May 2024

Choose a time for this walk when the tide will be between mid and low, so you can walk on the beach below the high tide mark, to avoid disturbing any nesting marine birds, all the way to White Rock and Table Cape, about 3km one way.

Maori land meets the coast along this walk. This is sensitive land and access on farm tracks and paddocks is discouraged. Several urupa are located near Nukutaurua Road.

The extensive shore platform is exposed at low tide and the patterns and shapes of the sandstone layers are striking. At low tide, the beach below the farm edge and above the shore platform can also be used as a road. It is common to see local family groups with quad bikes and utes diving for crayfish and harvesting kina from the rocks. 

A breeding colony of New Zealand fur seals is near Table Cape. Pups are born from spring to early summer, and every year these seals will return to the same area for the breeding season. All year around, seals haul out on White Rock at Table Cape or along the grassy edge of the farmland. You should stay at least 20m away from seals. Don't disturb them with loud noises or by throwing things. You are also likely to see New Zealand dotterels, banded dotterels, variable oystercatchers, seagulls and terns, as well as godwits when they visit between spring and autumn.

This is a beautiful natural coastline, and you could consider carrying a plastic bag with you to collect any plastic rubbish that you see on your walk! 

History of the trail

It was just 3km off this coast that the SS Tasmania sank in July 1897 with 148 people on board. She struck rocks on the Gisborne side of Table Cape in the evening, then was pushed by a strong southerly before sinking in the early morning. Six lifeboats with all the passengers and crew left the ship successfully, but two overturned when coming into shore at Muriwai and 11 people drowned, five of whom are buried at Gisborne's Makaraka Cemetery. A passenger, Mr Rothschild, had £2000 worth of jewellery on board. He later purchased the wreck for £25 and employed a diver to try to recover the jewellery. This was not successful, but Kelly Tarlton bought the wreck from him in the 1970s and recovered about half of the jewellery during several dives.

Tips & Logistics

To get there, follow Māhia East Coast Road from Māhia Beach past Whangawehi Estuary, turn left on Nukutaurua Road and drive 1km along this sandy road. Park on the left, off the road near a locked gate. Scramble down to the beach and walk around the rocks and along the beach below the high tide mark to Table Cape.