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Rakiura Track: Lee Bay Gate



4.0 mile 6.4 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 522' 159 m
Descent: -920' -280 m
High: 426' 130 m
Low: 1' 0 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 25% (14°)


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Trail shared by Kristen McGlynn


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A lovely hike along a coastal section of the Rakiura Track.

Kristen McGlynn

Features Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Views

Bookings are required for the Maori Beach Campsite.


This easy section of the Rakiura Track extends from the junction for the Port William Hut/Campsite, to the Lee Bay Gate trailhead. From the junction, the trail heads down to a suspension bridge and a short hike along Wooding Bay and the beautiful golden sands of Māori Beach—be sure to come prepared with bug repellant for the sand flies!

There is also a campsite along the beach on a small, grassy knoll situated on the southern end of the beach. Here, there is a small creek that can be easily waded at low tide, or you can continue inland to a small foot bridge in order to cross without getting your feet wet at high tide.

After this creek crossing, the trail climbs up and around Peter's Point and follows the coast toward Lee Bay. There are some especially scenic coastal views from this vantage point as well as views back toward Mount Anglem to the northwest if you glance back over your shoulder.

The trail then comes to a small inlet and river which at low tide is mainly a wide sand bar. You can hike up the riverbed along the sand bar to come to a swing and a bench, a great spot for lunch or a snack. At high tide, this inlet will be underwater, and you'll have to cross on the short wooden bridge near the mouth of the inlet to keep your feet dry (this bridge is also the recommended crossing at low tide as well).

On the other side of the inlet, you'll pass the junction with the Garden Mounds Track and continue along the coast until you come to Lee Bay and the iconic chain link sculpture that marks this entrance to the Rakiura Track. Take a minute to read about the significance of the sculpture which has ties to the Māori creation story when Māui fished the South Island from the sea, anchoring it with Stewart Island (Rakiura). Perhaps you should even go in search of the matching sculpture that can be found on the South Island in the town of Bluff!

Flora & Fauna

Many native birds including tuī, fantails, wood pigeons, parakeets, oystercatchers, possibly little blue penguins, or if you are really lucky, the elusive kiwi. Rimu, kamahi, ferns, and rata.

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Feb 1, 2018
Katie Stuart

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  4.5 from 2 votes


  4.5 from 2 votes
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