Formed about 200 million years ago, Red Rocks is an unusual rock formation of ancient volcanic pillow lava embedded in greywacke and red siltstone. The resulting colour makes for an area of national significance.
Located on the southern coast west of Island Bay, the 7.4km trail is open to walkers, bikers, or recreational four-wheel drivers. Its fascinating geology spawned Māori myths, including one where Kupe, the famous Polynesian explorer, bled after a paua clamped shut on his hand while he tried to gather some to eat.
This easy, flat track will take 2-3 hours return when walking, guiding you along the coast from Ōwhiro Bay Quarry, past a small group of historic baches built in the early 1900s, and out to Devil’s Gate at Sinclair Head.
For a longer journey, head up the ridgelines of Te Kopahou Reserve and link onto Red Rocks Track to Hawkins Hill.
The wild and barren shoreline makes for an exhilarating walk. During the winter months, you can see fur seals basking on the rocks near Sinclair Head. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash and kept at least 20m away from seals and other native wildlife.