Wellington Regional Trails

Walking time

3 hr return




Walking/Running, Mountain Biking


Access Road

Walking difficulty

Easy: Walking track

Mountain Bike Grade

Easy: Grade 2


11m highest point


Yes (on lead)

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About the trail

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.

Two people stand with their arms raised at Devil's Gate on the Red Rocks Coastal Walkway in Ōwhiro Bay in Wellington.

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.

  • The trail starts from the Te Kopahou Visitor Centre car park, located at the end of Ōwhiro Bay Parade and ends at the Devil’s Gate at Sinclair Head.
  • If you’re taking public transport, the 29 Metlink bus line can get you near Ōwhiro Bay Parade (dropping you on Happy Valley Road). It’s around a 15-minute walk along Ōwhiro Bay Parade to the Te Kopahou Visitor Centre and the start of the trail.