Pahi Coastal Walk
The northernmost part of The Coromandel feels wild and remote. Most of the land north of Colville is forested, cloaking the hills from the deserted coast over the slopes of the mysterious Mt Moehau. Locals up here are independent by nature and necessity and take their guardianship of this special place to heart. Unless you venture up here with a guide to walk the DOC track or camp at Fantail Bay, few travellers come this way.
There is something about getting out in nature that helps us connect to something bigger than ourselves, and to put things in perspective. We know it's a great way to take time out, alone or with friends and family, to feel more relaxed and centred. The Pahi Coastal Walk offers a way to immerse yourself in nature with a taste of farm life with all the care and comfort of a fully hosted three-day walking experience.
Up the Port Jackson Road, surrounded by vast tracts of public conservation land, the Ward family have been farming for five generations. Under their stewardship, the iconic undeveloped landscape has flourished, and now visitors have the opportunity to experience the freedom and beauty found on their farm. By providing access to this extraordinary part of the peninsula, Zander and Cath Ward invite guests to traverse one of New Zealand's best coastlines and gain insight into their unique way of life on a hill country station.
The small village of Colville is the last outpost as you make your way north up the west coast from Thames through Coromandel Town. Here you will leave your vehicle securely parked for the next three days, take the shuttle up the scenic coastal road to Port Jackson, and have morning tea at Pahi Station homestead. Your hosts will welcome you with a plan for the following three days and two nights before you set off over the grasslands, beside the bush for the first leg of your Pahi Coastal Walk.
Day one on the western coast of the farm rewards you with views over the Hauraki Gulf to Auckland and the gulf islands, and the forested peninsula stretching south. Pahi Retreat, the rustic cottage by the stream is the place for your first night's rest, a dip in the swimming hole, and dinner and dessert by the open fire.
Heading east up an inclined track on day two you will discover views in a different direction from the highest point on the station. Following the native bush line down the ridge, you will pass the classic corrugated iron shepherd's hut, heading to more salubrious accommodation at the Shearers Quarters. The white sands of Maloney's Beach make a great lunch stop (maybe a cooling dip) and then it’s on to Fletchers Bay for the night. This is the longest walk at 16 kilometres, but the going is easy and you will have plenty of time to drink in the views along the way and stop to appreciate the majestic isolation.
After a peaceful night in the farmhouse, you might choose to sleep in the final morning and relax on the wraparound deck or on the beach before your shuttle arrives at midday. We imagine you may well head off for a short loop excursion up the Pahi valley. Your return shuttle with Hike and Bike Coromandel will allow you to savour lingering views of this place as you make your way back to Colville. The other option is to change pace and ride the coast road 26 kilometres to Colville on a comfortable e-bike.
There is something special about personal connections that are forged and nourished by time out together away from everyday routines. The Pahi Coastal Walk experience has been designed with care by folk who care deeply about this place that they have looked after and which has nurtured them for more than 100 years. It is a very personal experience, from connections made at the Colville store to your shuttle drivers Leanne and Gavin Jeffcoat (also long-time locals and environmentalists), and staying in farmhouses that have their own family stories to tell.
The Pahi Coastal Walk is open from October to May (the Wards are also busy farming), and there are never more than 10 walkers at one time. If you love to walk in nature, you'll be fine as the longest walk is 16 kilometres and you don't need to be super fit. Non-walkers in your group can be transported between the homesteads where you overnight. Kids will love it too, the sense of freedom and adventure is invigorating, the stuff of family memories.