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Baring Head/Orua-pouanui

Baring Head/Orua-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.

Dogs are not permitted at Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui at any time to protect stock and native wildlife.

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

Possum control (TB free) in Parangarahu Lakes in September

Posted 29/9/21

Contractors Better Nature will be undertaking possum control from 27th September until further notice at the Parangarahu lakes and some surrounding private land.

The toxins being used are Feratox (Potassium Cyanide) and Diphacinone

  • Toxic to humans and animals
  • Do not touch baits or carcasses
  • Watch children at all times
  • Poison baits and carcasses of animals are deadly to dogs

Notices will be installed at all park entrances.

For more information contact:

Operations Manager, Better Nature, 068365590

Baring head is due for similar treatment in the coming months.

COVID-19 update

Posted 7/9/21

At Alert Level 2, we need to play it safe. Park trails are very busy at present, be aware of other walkers and bikers.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Keep a 2m distance from people you don’t know
  • The ranger’s office will remain closed at level 2
  • Dogs must be on leads
  • When using public facilities please wear a mask
  • The museum will remain closed at level 2
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Stay home if you are unwell

Read the full guidelines >

Lighthouse complex update

Posted 5/3/21

The new Story Hub is open daily - 9am to 5pm at Orua-pouanui/Baring Head Lighthouse complex.

Discover tales of iwi and early settlers, defence history, maritime navigation, NIWA New Zealand and GNS Science work, geology and more about the wider site ecological restoration.


    Fireworks are prohibited in all Regional Parks and Forest areas.

    Baring Head/Orua-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/Orua-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. This gives 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/Orua-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.

Please note:

There is no public access along the coast road (Fitzroy Bay) between Baring Head and the Parangarahu Lakes without the permission of the two private landowners. If you require access, please contact the Park Ranger Jo Greenman at

Native plants and animals

Baring Head/Orua-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