Hiking the Onawe Pa Track, Banks Peninsula
The short walk to the end of Onawe Pa / Peninsula is a fun thing to do when exploring Banks Peninsula. It’s close to Akaroa (in the small town of Duvachelle) and the views are great — keep reading to find out more!
The Onawe Pa Track
The track starts at a small car park on Onawe Flat Road — it’s easy to find but in summer (especially weekends) there may not be room to park. You can always park in Duvachelle near the hotel, which will require an extra 10 minutes or so of walking (each way). You’ll notice a small hill above the car park — climb it for a nice view of where you’re about to walk.
From there head along the beach for a short distance. You’ll notice an interestingly textured and coloured section of rocks / cliffs and a fairly rough beach. You’ll have to do it at low tide (or a couple of hours either side) if you don’t want to get wet!
Soon you’ll be climbing up the hill where the views start to reveal themselves. It’s an easy track and before long you’ll reach the “summit”. There are some big rocks at the top (which make for a good foreground for photos) and 360-degree views of the harbour and Banks Peninsula. I especially liked the view towards the southern side of Banks Peninsula, with its large number of boats just offshore. A pa is an Maori fortified village / fortification and while there is no real evidence of it left you can imagine this being a good place to defend!
There’s a short loop track at the end of the peninsula, which goes through the bush at one point (it gets slippery and muddy in there). You’ll soon arrive back at the main track and from there it’s an easy downhill stroll to the car park. The Onawe Pa track took me around an hour and I’d describe it as easy (despite a bit of uphill walking).
Most people that visit Onawe Pa will be on their way to or from Akaroa. It’s an easy detour off the main road (turn onto Onawe Flat Road near the Duvachelle Hotel). You can get a good view of Onawe Pa from the above at Hilltop Tavern. There are also some old boat houses on the road leading to the start of the track as well as a photogenic pier.
Are you planning on driving to Akaroa from Christchurch? Check out Tumbledown Bay — it’s one of my favourite spots on Banks Peninsula!