Waikawau Tunnel Beach
Sandstone Tunnel To Beach
NZ Gps: 38° 28' 35.9544" S 174° 38' 24.1044" E
Waikawau beach is one of the remotest and strangest beaches on the entire west coast. It’s also gorgeous, so gorgeous in fact that old-timers had to dig a 80m tunnel through the sandstone cliffs just to get at it! Well, maybe not…the tunnel was actually dug out in 1911 by three men with pick and shovel…all in order to get sheep and wool onto boats in the cove.
Nowadays though, the Waikawau tunnel and its low-tide-only beach are the best kept secret between Raglan and Awakino. Walking through the sandstone tunnel you’ll emerge onto a blacksand beach backed by colorful bluffs. Like at Tongaporutu, the waves bash at these bluff, forming caves and tide pools and other goodies. To the north the beach beckons…and it doesn’t disappoint. A 40-minute walk brings you past sprinkling waterfalls, boulder gardens, then a nice stream area. Make sure you leave time to get back on the rising tide—it bashes up to the cliffs!
If you arrive at high tide, there’s still fun explorations to be had near the carpark in the stream or over the dunes.