This coastal track connects Colac Bay with Riverton and is mostly near the coast. For Te Araroa through walkers heading south, the excitement builds as the finish line comes into sight—while for those heading north, as they leave the southern coast the realisation sets in that it really is quite a long way to Cape Reinga!
This route has been recently refurbished (November 2013) and is walkable for most levels of fitness and ability.
The track formally begins at the Colac Bay Rd/Colac Bay Foreshore Rd junction. If you choose to walk this northbound, then further up Colac Bay Rd, the Colac Bay Tavern is a great place to reflect on your day, share stories and sample local delights.
To do this track justice, time your walk around low tide so you can head east along the beach following the eastern shore of Colac Bay until the end of the sandy beach. From there, the marked track will take you in and out of the gulches and gluts of the Southland coast with views to Stewart Island. Waves and weather roll in off the Southern Ocean—keep an eye on the Longwoods (north of Colac Bay) as local legend has it that if you see them take on a blue-ish hue, rain is imminent.
From the final deer fence the track leaves the coast and heads up towards, then through, Mores Reserve to emerge at a car park at the end of Richard St. There are public toilets here. Walk down Richard St towards Riverton. At the bottom of Richard St turn left onto Bay Rd and walk around to the Palmerston Rd Bridge. The Tihaka Beach Track ends at the far end of the bridge.
Be aware that this section is closed during September and October for lambing. It is foot access only and dogs are prohibited.