Te Araroa: Pukerua Bay to Paekakariki Escarpment Trail (Stairway to Heaven)

This trail has been funded and developed by the Te Araroa Trust and is administrated by the Trust.  It is part of the national trail that covers the length of New Zealand from Cape Reinga to Bluff.  This section of Te Araroa is a 10 kilometre trail that traversing the steep escarpment between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki.

For more information about Te Araroa and this trail please refer to http://www.teararoa.org.nz.

24 July 2017

Please note: Due to a major slip, this track is closed until further notice.  Please do not ignore the warning signs.

Description of Trail and Advice

Porirua City Council offers the following advice for users thinking about tackling the escarpment portion of the trail.

This trail offers stunning elevated views from the escarpment along the coast and out to sea however the aspects of this track that make it exhilarating also create significant challenges and potential risk. 

Due to the steep terrain this track is narrow and has steep slopes dropping off below the track formation.  The track is unsuitable for people with a fear of heights (Vertigo) or who are unsteady on their feet.

View of Kapiti Island from Te Araroa.

Very young children under the age of 8 are not recommended to be taken onto the track and older children need to be carefully supervised by adults.

The track constantly is climbing and falling along the escarpment face.  There are very few flat sections and there are long sections of steep stairs without handrails.  Altogether there is close to 1500 stairs to be negotiated.  A very good level of fitness is essential.

View of stairs on Te Araroa.

The track is 10 kilometres long from Pukerua Bay train station to Paekakariki train station and takes about 3 to 5 hours to walk one-way. 

There are distance markers located every kilometre that will guide you as to your progress.

View of track distance marker on Te Araroa.

The summit of the walk is reached around the 5.4km mark coming from Pukerua Bay or 4.6km mark coming from Paekakariki.

The weather is often colder and more windy up on the top of the escarpment, particularly compared to the starting locations situated lower down.  The weather in this area can change quickly and so you need to be prepared.  Check the weather forecast and make sure you take appropriate clothes and plenty of fluids for drinking.

There is no water available anywhere on the pathway.

View of track on Te Araora.

The trail is predominantly open and exposed.  There is very little shelter, so during the walk you can be exposed to high temperatures and sun exposure.  Take sun block and plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated.

The escarpment is in an area classified as an extreme wind zone, so it is recommended to avoid being on the track during times of strong winds.  

The track surface is gravel with timber and gravel stairs, sturdy footwear is recommended.

There are two swing bridges as part of the trail over deep gorges.  There is a maximum of five people per bridge allowed at any time.

View of swing bridge on Te Araroa.

View of swing bridge on Te Araroa.

Getting on to the Track

How to get there from Porirua end - Start at Pukerua Bay Train Station.

A) Pukerua Bay Station

On the eastern side of the train station platform exit path across the tracks, turn left onto the path beside the carpark, heading north past the playground.  Follow this path between houses and onto Sea Vista Drive.

B) Seavista Drive

Turn left and follow Seavista drive to the north.  Near the end of Sea Vista it curves around to the right and ends in a Cul de Sac while Puketai Place continues north. 

C) Muri Road Reserve

The accessway to Muri Reserve is located between 70 and 72 Sea Vista Drive at the end of the cul de sac.  Follow this accessway into reserve, the reserve opens up into a wider mown grassed area.  Follow this grass clearing down hill and at the bottom you will find an access point onto the old Muri road railway station platform.

D) Old Muri Road Railway Station

This old station has now been shut down by Kiwirail so don’t expect any trains to stop here.  There is a fence down the middle of the old platform to retain pedestrian access.  From the Muri Road reserve turn right and follow the fence to the end of the platform.  You will pass the old station shelter with a colourful mural on it.

Mural at old Muri Road Railway Station.

E) Muri Road

At the far end of the old station platform you will come to Muri Road.  On the far side there is a level crossing over the tracks and beside that there is a small spring loaded gate adjacent to the rail corridor.  This is the entrance onto the escarpment track.

View showing Muri road entrance.

View of Muri Road entrance.

Beyond this point keep to the track. Note there are no other routes off the escarpment apart from the Te Araroa track.

Track Details

Users:   Walkers only. Not suitable for bikes or wheelchairs.

Dogs and Horses: Not Permitted.

Camping, Fires: Not Permitted.

Facilities: Toilets: Only located at each end.  Situated at Pukerua Bay shops and Paekakariki shops.   No toilets for the 10 kilometres in between.

Seats: There are limited seats along the route, these are mainly on the Kapiti side of the summit.

Swing Bridges:  there are two swing bridges over deep gorges along the route.

Grade:  Challenging – the track is constantly climbing and falling, requiring a high level of fitness.  It is narrow and has steep slopes directly below it.  There are many stairs with no handrails.  It is unsuitable for people with a fear of heights (vertigo) or who are unsteady on their feet. 

Links to other Tracks:  Ara Harakeke – Shared Pathway from Pukerua Bay Shops to Paremata. Please refer to "Porirua's Great Walking and Cycling Tracks" brochure for more information.


Walk either way and catch the train back to your starting point.

Environment Code

  • Protect plants and wildlife
  • Remove rubbish
  • Keep to the track
  • Consider other people