Te Henga Walkway

Te Henga Walkway

Accessed by a twisting 11km road that turns off Scenic Drive at its Swanson Road end, this black-sand beach is popular with swimmers and families; and O’Neills Beach—to the right of the main beach—is the spot for surfers.

Bethells Beach is also the location of Te Henga Walkway; an eight-kilometre cliff top track from Te Henga to Constable Road with arguably some of the best views of the Tasman Sea.

The walkway starts a few hundred metres before the road reaches the beach; walkers park their cars at the track entrance and set off across a marshy paddock.

Slushy grass quickly turns into a narrow track that winds up the hill to the far right of the beach.

This initial exertion sets the tone for the rest of the walkway; the walk is not for the unfit or anyone who balks at a combination of narrow windy paths and steep-sided cliff tops.

Although young and reasonably fit, my partner and I decided to walk only a section of the track rather than attempt the 16-kilometre round trip (to do the track one way you would need to leave a second car at the Constable Road end).

After the first uphill slog, we dropped down through low-lying scrub and then it was a steep climb through native bush to the top of a cliff, backed by farmland.

From here we carried on down a narrow ridge-top path cut into bush kept low by the fierce winds, before turning around at a particularly breathtaking view.

Doing only two-and-a-half hours of this adventurous track proved a good option and we met three other couples who turned back at around the same spot as us.

Rather than follow the track home, we chose to veer off onto the beach and scuff our feet through the warm black sand and watch the surfers on neighbouring O’Neills Beach.

Be warned, however, this route can be treacherous at high tide—we were chased by energetic waves and our shoes were soaked from wading through the knee-high stream to get back onto Te Henga. It was a squelchy 10-minute walk back up the road to the carpark at the start of the track.

There are no facilities along these tracks, so be prepared by taking plenty of water, food, sunblock, hat—and something warm and waterproof to wear for when the wind picks up.

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Content updated: 14/11/2019 14:37

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