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Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui

Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui

Wainuomata Coast Road

The newest area of East Harbour Regional Park, Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui is an iconic landscape, with wonderful views over Cook Strait. Enter from the Wainuiomata Coast Road.

As part of a consortium, Greater Wellington purchased a 284.6 hectare property near the Baring Head lighthouse in June 2010. The purchase was made with financial contributions from the Nature Heritage Fund, Department of Conservation, Hutt City Council and a private benefactor.

The property includes the lower reaches and mouth of the Wainuiomata River, and much of the coastal escarpment around Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui. It is rugged, yet spectacular land, and is visible from Wellington. A marked route provides people with a walk offering access to the lighthouse reserve and views of the headlands, coastline towards Parangarahu Lakes and Wellington, and wetlands.

Baring Head

Public access and information

Everyone is welcome to visit Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui.  Download the Baring Head brochurewith a map and more information.

A carpark is provided at the main entrance to Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui, on Wainuiomata’s Coast Road and there’s a bridge across the Wainuiomata River. This entrance is 15 minutes from Wainuiomata.

The site can also be accessed by foot for most of the year from the mouth of the Wainuiomata River. In summer, there’s usually a gravel bar at the river mouth. Visitors should not attempt to cross the river if it's in flood or the water is discoloured. A carpark is located next to the river.

Recreational vehicles are prohibited beyond the carparks at Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui. This prohibition follows last year’s public consultation on a management plan for the area, with most submitters supporting the ban.

Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui tracks

From the Wainuiomata Coast Road entrance, the main route follows the base of the river escarpment towards the coast. At the southern end of the river flats lies the historic pump shed that once took water from the Wainuiomata River to the Baring Head lighthouse cottages. From a junction near the coast a marked route leads to the popular climbing boulders, while the main track heads up the escarpment to the marine terraces. These give access to the lighthouse area, the Para trig and the World War II bunkers. The route follows the ridgeline back to the road and start point.

Walking times from the entrance (one way):

Walking along the escarpment

Old Pump Shed
20 mins
Climbing Boulders
1 hour
Baring Head Lighthouse
1 hour 15 mins
Para Trig and WWII Bunkers
1 hour 30 mins
Return Walk
3 hours

You are welcome to cycle throughout Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui . The tracks from the river flats to the top terrace are steep; watch out for pedestrians, other cyclists and vehicles on the road.

Livestock graze the park, and no dogs are permitted.

Native plants and animals

Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui is home to a number of unique ecosystems within its boundary.

The beach and coastal escarpment provide a habitat for birds such as the banded dotterel, many lizard species, and rare invertebrates (eg, spider, moth and cicada species). Cushion plants, spinifex and sand tussock are also found here.

The Wainuiomata River is an important native fish habitat and the lower reaches are a spawning habitat for inanga. The nationally endangered plant tororaro (Muehlenbeckia astonii) is also found near the river.

Get in touch

Mark McAlpine

Phone: 04 830 4444
Fax: 027 467 3076