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Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui

Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui

Coast Road, Wainuiomata

Enter from Coast Road, 15 minutes from Wainuiomata. A carpark is provided at the main entrance.

The site can also be accessed by foot for most of the year from the mouth of the Wainuiomata River.

Recreational vehicles are prohibited beyond the carparks.

Visitors should not attempt to cross the river if it's in flood or the water is discoloured.

Park Notices

COVID-19 update

Posted 18/2/21

We are currently at Alert Level 1. In order to recover from the effects of COVID-19 in our community, it is important to:

If you have any questions for us, please call 0800 496 734.

Lighthouse complex update

Posted 27/9/19

The lighthouse complex area is open to the public. Building work is still underway so please take care. 


Fireworks are prohibited in all Regional Parks and Forest areas.

Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui is an iconic landscape, with wonderful views over Cook Strait. 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

Walking 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.

Air Monitoring

NIWA has a Clean Air Monitoring Station at Baring Head – check out more about it over on their website.

Get in touch

Jo Greenman

Phone: 04 830 4444
Fax: 027 467 3076