Owaka District Walks

Short walks near Owaka, easily accessed off the Southern Scenic Route; waterfalls, coastal views, walks and wildlife.

Both DoC and the Local councilk websites have plenty of information on this area.

All these tracks are within 10 kilometres of Owaka township, which is on SH92, the Southern Scenic Route.


Tunnel Hill  Time: 20 min return  - The carpark and track entrance are signposted on SH92, the Southern Scenic Route, five kilometres north of Owaka.


Barrs Falls Time: 10 min return - Three kilometres south of Owaka on the Southern Scenic Route, turn right into Barr Road. Several areas suitable for parking are handy to the start of the track. The track is in the Barrs Falls Scenic Reserve and suits all ages.

Pounawea Nature Walk and Estuary   15 min round trip  - The track starts from the Pounawea Motor Camp, on the foreshore at the end of Pounawea Road. Vehicles should be parked outside the camping ground. This loop track in the Pounawea Scenic Reserve was mainly formed for the use of school groups staying at Pounawea. The walk, through bush typical of the area, is well interpreted with plant and tree labelling.

Pounawea Bush Walking Track   45 min round trip - The track start is the same as the Pounawea Nature Walk at the motor camp. This passes through a stand of virgin podocarp forest, well populated by birdlife. The return is through a salt marsh and estuary that shows an intact sequence of vegetation from shoreline to forest. The sand spit near the estuary mouth is home to wading birds, including godwits who annually return from northern Asia.

The salt marsh section of the track is only accessible at low tide.

Surat Bay Wildlife Walk  20 - 30 min return - From Owaka, turn off Pounawea Road onto Newhaven Road and turn right for the carpark. Cross the bridge over a small creek and follow the poled route to pass through the dunes. In most conditions you will find there’s a large colony of New Zealand sea lions interacting or sleeping on the beach. This species is the world’s rarest sealion and is only now rebuilding its mainland population, after being hunted to virtual extinction over 200 years ago.