Wellington Walks: Red Rocks Walkway

“There will be seals,” Daniel said.

If he can’t bribe me with food to come along on the walks, animals in the wild are the next best thing. (Except if it’s a gang of cows, of course.) The Red Rocks Reserve is a walk that goes along the rugged Wellington coast from Owhiro Bay, which is located in the southern part of Wellington.
Rugged coastline at the Red Rocks Reserve walkway.

As a Florida native, I grew up near the beach and oddly enough I’ve never enjoyed my time sitting on one. You sweat, you get burnt, and sand gets in inappropriate places. Needless to say, I’m usually not impressed or mesmerized by beaches like others are so often are.

Walking along the Red Rocks Reserve in New Zealand.

But then I came to New Zealand, and this country knows how to do beaches. There’s no expectations of wearing a bikini on these shores. Probably because there’s no sand.

Pebbles on the Red Rocks Reserve walkway.

It’s appropriately named the Red Rocks Walkway due to the unusual rock color that lines the beach. Sorry, but it’s a little hard to take a good photo of rocks.

The red rocks in Wellington, New Zealand.

The rocks were created by lava that over millions of years has been pushed up to the surface due to tectonic movement. I only wrote this sentence to use the term “tectonic movement” which makes me sound incredibly smart.

In Maori mythology, the red rocks found their color when Kupe (the mythological discoverer of the country) cut his hand while fishing. His blood staining the rocks.

Handstand at the Red Rocks Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand.

Obligatory handstand.

The rugged coastline along Owhiro Bay.

Daniel kept his promise. We spotted our first wild seal.

A seal seen at Red Rocks Reserve walkway.

Then we spotted a pod of seals.

A pod of seals sunbathing in Wellington, New Zealand.

Sinclair Head is a place many male fur-seals call home in the winter months between May and August.  They seem to spend the majority of their time sunning themselves on the rocks. This was the only time we’ve seen seals in “the wild” and there were hundreds… all doing this, basically:


Two seals sunbathing in Wellington.There are signs posted that read you can’t get too close to the seals or they may attack you. Although it’s hard to believe since they seem so lazy.


There were plenty of rocks to precariously perch take a rest on and admire the South Island in the distance.

Taking a break on the Red Rocks Reserve walkway.

The South Island seen from Wellington, New Zealand.

On Sundays, the track is only open for walkers and mountain bikers. Every other day, however, the track can be shared with four-wheel-drive vehicles, which I imagine is a bit annoying.

Due to the height of the cliffs, even on a sunny day the sun might be blocked out throwing much of the walk into shadow. It can get a little chilly (and windy!) so if you head along after reading this, take a jacket!

Footprints along Owhiro Bay at Red Rocks Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand.

Walking along Owhiro Bay in New Zealand.

No coastal hike is complete without getting a really large stick and pretending you’re a wizard.

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