Escarpment Track

Average rating: 5
  • Walking

This track from Paekākāriki to Pukerua Bay runs high above State Highway 1 and the railway, reaching 220m above sea level. There are spectacular views, and it is one of the highlights of the Te Araroa Trail. 

  • Be aware that it is steep, narrow and exposed, and crosses private property. 
  • The walk should not be attempted by those without a reasonable level of fitness, or who suffer from vertigo.
  • Please keep to the marked track and do not enter the rail corridor. You risk a $20,000 fine.
  • There are seats and interesting interpretive signs along the way but no amenities.
  • If section walking, please park thoughtfully - please park at the railway station not on Ames St. 
  • Parking is extremely limited and the roadway is narrow. The road is an emergency alternate State Highway 1 route and any parking on the street makes this difficult. Parking at the railway station is preferred for all track users and provides more direct access to the track.

Stay on the righthand side of Beach Road, and at the end cross the railway lines. Immediately turn right on to the footpath alongside State Highway 1. Follow the signed route through the trees until it comes back out onto the footpath. After about 50m, take the stairs under the bridge and onto the Escarpment Track – Do not cross State Highway 1. 

Initially, the track undulates and passes through groves of the coastal bush. After 10 minutes there is an open area which was an old quarry, seating and views worth stopping for. Continue on over a small bridge and a cantilevered section of pathway around a rock face.

From here, the track is over steep terrain, and there are no handrails on the steps. Children should be supervised.

Walkers should wear suitable footwear and carry an extra layer in case the weather turns - it can be exposed up there. 

Begin the steep ascent via steps and a zig-zag path and continue up to the highest point of the track ("the Lookout"), before starting a descent down many steps. You will traverse two lovely sections of Kohekohe forest before another steep descent then cross 2 swing-bridges. 

The track continues beside private property and the rail corridor. Continue along the old (now closed) Muri Station and go through Muri Park and onto Sea Vista Drive, cutting through the walkway to Pukerua Bay Railway Station. Please note that you can buy a ticket for the return journey by train at the dairy in Paekākāriki, or on the train but tickets can only be purchased using cash on the train.

Section walkers heading south to north should park in the Pukerua Bay Railway Station carpark and enter the track from there following these directions in reverse - there is not enough room to park safely at the end of Muri Road.

For walkers continuing south on Te Araroa Trail, from the Pukerua Bay Railway Station cross the railway track at the safe crossing point then proceed up a slight incline to Te Motu Road, turn right and walk right to the end where you will cross the footbridge over SH1, then once on the western side of SH1 walk south a further 250m to the start of the next section.


Conditions of the agreement giving public access to the land are that no horses, dogs, bikes or motorised vehicles are permitted.

Keep to the track; do not walk on to farmland, or the rail tracks.

Potential hazards:

  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Weather extremes
  • No water sources on track - take with you
  • Steep stairs - unsuitable for those with vertigo or cardio illness.

How to get here

Northern start: Beach Road, Paekakariki
Southern start: Pukerua Bay shops on SH1
Alternative Track: Centennial Highway

Track Elevation

Map of Track

More information

Te Araroa Wellington trail notes, including information about accommodation, transport and resupplying

Mountain Safety Council Plan My Trip
Page last updated: Jan 5, 2021, 2:31 PM