Skip to contentSkip to navigation

Motukiekie Beach Walk

The South's Most Scenic Beach Walk

Difficulty: 3km one-way walk
Bring: tide chart, water sandals
Motukiekie Beach Walk
NZGps: 42° 19' 46.074" S 171° 15' 53.6148" E
Average: 4 (3 votes)

Plan Ahead!! Low-Tide ONLY! Most every tourist on the South island has passed this short stretch of coast, but few stop, as few know about this coastline wonder-walk. The Motukiekie Coast, short as it is, may be the South Island’s MOST DRAMATIC bit of walkable coast!!!!!* Motukiekie is oft-featured on panoramic postcards, but the photographers don’t tell you where this dramatic slice of scenery is located. I will.

Lemme try again in case I wasn’t clear. NOWHERE on this South Island will you find a more interesting, photogenic, and WOW section of beach that you can actually walk. The reason you’ve never heard of it on any of those brochure maps or i-Site rubbish is that it’s free, hard to access, needs planning…and nobody has commercialized it!

Even more so than Punakaiki, where knowing when high tide happens is helpful, knowing low-tide at Motukiekie is imperative—no low-tide, no beach walk. If it ain’t low, you can’t go!!

What Motukiekie’s got here, decorating this little-visited stretch of coast 20km north of Greymouth, is an offshore sea-stack cornucopia, high cliffs and arches and caves and waterfalls and corrugated tidal shelving. Motukiekie at low tide is fricking amazing!! Every month is different at Motukiekie, every day is different!! Each week the tides and Westland storms bring and/or remove heaps of sand and pebbles from Motukiekie, either hiding or revealing the fascinatingly brain-like tidal shelf…and, given Westland’s weather, the rain is probably either pouring or drizzling, thus yielding waterfalls gushing off cliffs and rushing across beach, or mere trickles festooning the ferndraped heights. Another bit of interest on this beach is the rusting collection of cars that have plunged to their deaths from the highway above—yikes.

Here’s why Motukiekie sees few foreign visitors. Most folks are tourists —they bumble around NZ hoping to “see the sights” without expending much effort to find the truly unique uncommercialized spots. Travelers, on the other hand, are fewer. Travelers attempt to find good info about wonderful spots and experiences. Motukiekie is one of those spots. You gotta know where, you gotta know when…and you gotta PLAN AHEAD. Hope to see ya there!!

HIKE: From the roadside car parking, the walk is simple—find a gully down onto the beach then head south towards the sea stacks. But, here’s the rub—the sea blocks the way as it bashes the cliffs, except within 1.5 hours of low-tide. So first, figure out when Greymouth’s low-tide is from any newspaper’s tide charts. Next, plan to begin the walk south on a falling tide only, about 1.5-2 hours before low-tide. The best walk takes about an hour to get to the other side of the seastack point for a look from the other direction (and to see all the caves, arches, waterfalls, etc). At mid-tide you could walk for about 20 minutes and maybe make it to the double arch point, but that’d be just an awful tease. Make a good plan…you’ll have the beach to yourself as the tourists just don’t know, and they won’t be told.

*Abel Tasman may argue, as may Curio Bay, Wharariki Beach, and Kaikoura - but those places are in Lonely Planet and mobbed…come see Motukiekie, just you and your camera!

Excerpt from "NZ Frenzy Guidebook" by Scott CookNZ Frenzy Guidebook


Member Photos

Location Map


Absolutely loved this place.

Klaas's picture

Absolutely loved this place. We went to explore 2.5 hrs before low tide and were amazed by basically everything. On top of it we were all alone! On our way back we went a bit out of the way and found a true treasure! A must do walk. When we came back to our van there were some more people, but they were just taking photos from the roadside. Only 8 people walked a little further. Still a hidden secret!


Submitted by Klaas on Sat, 2017-11-18 15:01

Hi All yes Motukiekie beach

dustycar's picture

Hi All yes Motukiekie beach is very nice. I am one of the local residents. We are happy for you to explore the beach but you have to be careful as if you take the wrong beach access you may slip. The rocks can be very slippery. The easiest access is when you come from the direction of Greymouth drive past the cottages till you come to a new sub devision ( about 5 Km north of 10 Mile creek) Just north of a sign Kararoa Creek. There is plenty car parking and you can walk directly onto the beach. If you come from the direction of Punakaiki The access is about 500 M south of 12 Mile Creek. Just walk south on the beach. The pointer on the map is in the wrong spot. Access from that point is more dangerous and much harder to find. When you meet one of the locals on the beach say hi to them they are friendly.


Submitted by dustycar on Sun, 2015-05-10 16:38

PS Drive to where you see the

dustycar's picture

PS Drive to where you see the number 6 on the road


Submitted by dustycar on Sun, 2015-05-10 16:39

the walk is amazing

jtrl's picture

the walk is amazing with great views of the sea.. fairly easy but make sure you time your walk with low tide.. the pin here is however marked on the wrong spot (no access to beach from there).. we parked 3.4km after the hairpin 'ten mile bridge' coming from the south.. coming from the north, make sure to park before the cottages/houses on the right..


Submitted by jtrl on Sat, 2015-02-14 22:13