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wharariki beach guide

==the cj way++

The CJ way Guide to Wharariki Beach


Awesome beach and famous Archway Islands


20-25 minutes from parking

Easy - medium


Best time to visit: low to mid tide and golden hour

Jandals/sandals suitable (but you might prefer shoes)


  • Coordinates of car park: (-40.5091793, 172.6847832)

  • Coordinates of beach: (-40.5021561, 172.6747819)

  • From Puponga, you follow an unsealed road (Wharariki Rd) for just under 6km until you reach the caravan park. The DOC car park is just past the caravan park and this is where the walk begins. You walk and follow the signs for 20-25 minutes until you reach the beach. The walk is beautiful, taking you over rolling farmland, down a hill and then finally over sand dunes ! Once you reach the beach you need to walk to your left to see the arch in the Archway islands.

 best time to visit? 

  • Golden hour and at a low to mid tide so you can get closer to the Archway Islands and have more reflective sand exposed! We have been for sunrise and sunset and love both.

 cj travel tips 


  • Be prepared that if you put anything down on the sand , it will get soaked immediately. We either leave our gear right back at the dunes or take an old towel and let it get soaked.

  • James preferred wearing shoes down along the path but I hate getting sand in mine so I wore jandals. Either are fine!

  • Allow yourself lots of time here as this is a beach you don't want to rush! Play on the giant sand dunes, go exploring as there are several caves at the back of the beach, and did we mention this home to lots of seals? (and their wee pups!). The pups usually play in the small rock/sand-pools to the right of the Archway islands. 

 cj photography tips 

  • Use the wet sand for some great reflections!

  • The patterns in the windblown sand can also help create leading lines. 

  • As the sand is always wet, you can play around by making footprints etc. 

  • Shoot the Archway Islands from one of the caves at the back of the beach (use the cave to frame your photo). 

  • A drone is amazing here and really brings to life the scale/size of the islands. 

 what we found useful to pack 

  • In addition to the usuals (camera gear, suitable clothing, water and food, first aid, etc. we found the following items useful for Wharariki beach:

    • A picnic! Stay here a while and enjoy! :)

    • A towel/blanket for your bag to sit on.

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