40 Mins


  • Fur seal colony
  • Gun emplacements
  • Converted quarry truck



Keep a reasonable distance from seals.

Put half a day aside for this easy coastal walk to Red Rocks and a fur seal colony on the south side of Wellington. Make sure to take a drink and lunch!

Red Rocks, Wellington

Explore the rugged south coast of Wellington by walking from Owhiro Bay to the Red Rocks (Pari-whero); an area of national significance with fascinating geology and Maori history.

Check out the red-coloured rocks that were formed 200 million years ago. Maori folklore tells two stories relating to the colour of the rocks. In one, Kupe - the famous Polynesian explorer - was gathering paua (shellfish) here when one clamped his hand. He bled and stained the rocks red. In the other story, the red is the blood of Kupe's daughters. Fearing for their father's safety on a long voyage, they gashed themselves in grief over his absence.

Continue on to Sinclair Head, where there is a New Zealand fur seal colony. From May to October the colony is populated by bachelor males who were unsuccessful in their attempts to win the rank of breeding male in the colonies of the South Island. The absence of female seals and their young means this colony is less aggressive than some. However, seals are affected by stress and people are asked to keep a reasonable distance from the young males.

There are a number of historic places on the walk and further around coast, with some excellent views from gun emplacements and lookouts built during the major wars of 1900s. 

More information

Getting there

  • You can catch bus number 1 to Island Bay and get off at the last stop and walk around the coast via the Bach Cafe and Owhiro Bay Parade. This adds a 2 kilometre walk before the start of the walkway.
  • There are buses to Happy Valley, number 4, during the week which take you closer, as does the Southern Shopper bus (number 29) which takes an awkward route from the Hospital.
  • There are no buses to Happy Valley / Owhiro Bay in the weekends, before 7am or after 7pm.


Need to know

  • Seals can get stressed by people so keep a reasonable distance at all times.

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