Adventures > Kahurangi Lighthouse

Kahurangi Lighthouse

Login or Join Adventure Guide for full access to the Adventure Map, plus information including detailed route notes, fuel stops, food supplies/dining, accommodation, preparation and safety, downloadable GPX files plus a printable booklet.

Route Overview

General Overview

The Kahurangi Lighthouse is located in a remote location on the West Coast. It can be challenging to reach this lighthouse for any vehicle, however the experience will reward you in spades. The surrounding scenery is nothing short of jaw-droppingly spectacular making this route not only a fun challenge, but a route that will deliver epic views all the way.

There are some critical planning considerations to successfully pull off this trip. Most notably this relates to the four river crossings, the timing of the tides, and where to cross each river. If you get it wrong, you will join the long list of people who have drowned 4X4s, quads and motorbikes. If you get it right, you will have an EPIC experience along one of the most stunning stretches of rugged West Coast shoreline.

This Adventure provides the most comprehensive route information available to successfully reach the Kahurangi Lighthouse. This information is based on first-hand experience from multiple trips in this area, plus valuable knowledge from seasoned locals.

Start/Finish Point

The start point for this Adventure is at Collingwood. This is the last place you can access fuel before heading out towards the West Coast, and essentially entering a very remote part of the South Island.

The natural endpoint for this Adventure is back at Collingwood after spending a night either camping, or staying in the DOC house available for public use.

Terrain includes

Departing Collingwood, there is a scenic stretch of tarmac before you connect to a gravel road that winds through native bush and rolling farmland. It also offers magic long-distance views along the dramatic coastline.

The highlight of this Adventure are the beach sections that will impress the finickiest of adventure critics. This will come in the form of Grade 2 to Grade 4 as the terrain changes from sand, stones, rock benches, and bush tracks.

Recent weather will influence the terrain as you tackle the river crossings meaning they will be anywhere from Grade 3 to Grade 5. However, if you follow this route guide, you will have the highest chance of success, to reach the Kahurangi Lighthouse.


While additional route options are supplied in this Adventure, you are looking at approximately 170 km from Collingwood to the Kahurangi Lighthouse and back to Collingwood.

Max Fuel Leg

170 km

Travel Time

The tides will dictate access to this route so you will need to plan your entry and exit times around the tides. This route is best done over a two-day period with approximately 5 to 6 hours of travel time from Collingwood to the Kahurangi Lighthouse and 5 to 6 hours of travel time from Kahurangi Lighthouse back to Collingwood. Add extra time if you like to have a good poke around or stop regularly to take photos.


This route offers accommodation at a novel DOC house set in native West Coast bush. If you choose, you can camp on the generous lawn area outside the house. The information in Leg 1 will comprehensively detail the accommodation options.

Access Permission

No access permission is required for this Adventure however you will be passing through private farming stations on public easements, so it is important to keep to the track, and leave any gates as you find them.

Access Limitations

Access to this Adventure is heavily influenced by river levels and weather. It is imperative to plan correctly for a successful trip. Comprehensive (and critical) information about weather planning is contained in Leg 1.



This Adventure is only recommended for experienced adventurers. Whether your vehicle of choice is an adventure bike, 4X4, quad, you’ll need to be setup with a comprehensive toolkit, spares, and sufficient mechanical knowledge for trail-side repairs.

You should have a sound understanding of the risks that come with entering remote areas. In good weather, and the right window relating to tides, this section of the West Coast shoreline will typically deliver straightforward river crossings, and no real challenge. However, adverse weather can transform low running rivers into swollen and unfordable torrents in a matter of hours, and result in sea swells pushing well above normal limits.

Due to the remoteness, and challenges, this Adventure is recommended to do as a group.

Legs in this Adventure

Login to Adventure Guide