Monro Beach, West Coast

Beaches on the South Island’s West Coast tend to be a little rough around the edges, with the upside being you often have them all to yourself! Monro Beach is a great one to visit if you find yourself driving between Haast and Glacier Country. It’s located down a quiet bush track and you might even see penguins if you go at the right time of year.

Getting to Monro Beach

Monro Beach is on the main road along the West Coast. It’s close to Lake Moeraki and several other beaches including Bruce Bay and Ship Creek. From Haast it should take 30 minutes to drive to the car park. Knights Point Lookout (pictured below) is a good place to stop on the way to Monro Beach — they need to cut some trees down though!

Knights Point Lookout, West Coast, New Zealand

The track to Monro Beach should take around 30 minutes each way. It’s a relaxing walk through the bush, at least it is for most people. We were in a rush when we visited so I ended up running there and back (well, most of the way — I never run willingly).

READ MORE: 7 of the Best Things to Do in Haast

Monro Beach walk, West Coast, New ZealandBush track to Monro Beach, West Coast, New Zealand

Monro Beach

The forest track eventually reaches the sands of Monro Beach. It’s a lovely first view — the beach backed by bush-clad hills with the churning ocean in front. It’s more of a “scenery” beach than somewhere you’d hit up for a relaxing day of sun and sand. The South Island is full of beaches like this and if you’re anything like us you’ll want to explore as many of them as you can.

Monro Beach, West Coast, New Zealand

I walked around a bit and took some photos, and then had to run all the way back to the car. I’d say do this walk if you have plenty of time, otherwise skip it and visit some of the easier beaches nearby.

READ MORE: Top 12 Beaches in the South Island, New Zealand

Monro Beach, New Zealand


Tawaki (Fiordland Crested Penguins) can be seen at Monro Beach. Breeding season is July – November and is your best bet if you want to see them. It seems that afternoon is the best time to see them, although you might have to wait a while. I’ll try and get back in the next year or so to spot some penguins!

Are you planning a trip to the West Coast? Check out our West Coast travel guide!

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Jon Algie

I'm a South Island local -- born in Timaru and raised in Dunedin. I left the island in 2006 and returned 10 years later. Having seen a good chunk of the world I realised how special this place is -- the most beautiful island in the world! Seven years (and almost 400 posts) later I'm still helping locals and tourists alike plan their trips around the South Island.