Location: South coast between Owhiro Bay and Sinclair Head / Rimurapa
View on NZ Topo Map
Getting there: Walk from Owhiro Bay Quarry, cycle or four-wheel drive (4WD)
Suitable for: Day walk
Brief description: This unusual rock formation was created when an outcrop of ancient volcanic pillow lava was embedded in younger greywacke, along with red and green siltstone. The Red Rocks Scientific Reserve was created in 1972 after growing public concern about quarrying in the area. On Sundays, the gate is closed and the route is only open for walkers and mountain bikers.
Parking: Parking at Te Kopahou Visitor Centre carpark (at the end of Owhiro Bay Parade)
Toilets and changing facilities: Toilets at Te Kopahou Visitor Centre
Accessibility: Unsealed road is uneven in places - it is unsuitable for two-wheel drive (2WD) vehicles. The road is closed on Sundays.
Dogs: Dogs must be kept on a leash and at least 20m away from seals and other native wildlife.
Features: The walk from Owhiro Bay Quarry on the coastal four-wheel-drive track takes just under an hour and passes a small group of historic baches built in the early 1900s. Just beyond Red Rocks there is a track that leads up to the ridgelines of Te Kopahau Reserve. Further on from Red Rocks is Sinclair Head, where you can see seals in winter.
History: The area was visited by early Māori for its fishing and bull kelp to store fish in, but is not believed to have been a settlement site. Various Māori legends explain the red colouration: Maui stained the rocks with blood from his nose (blood which he used to bait his hook before catching Te Ika a Maui - the North Island); Kupe wounded himself on paua; Kupe's daughters, fearing for their father’s safety on a long voyage, gashed themselves on the rocks.