On our explorations of the West Coast of New Zealand’s south island, we stopped to walk the Truman Track near Punakaiki. It was rainy and quite overcast – and we assumed that we were unlucky with the weather. Later on, I learned that this region receives tons of rain. In fact, wherever you are on the West Coast, two things are bound to be somewhere near you: rain and rainforest.
The Truman Track is a short, 1.5km stroll through native bush to a small, picturesque beach. The walk should take you about 30 minutes return, plus whatever time you spend taking photos, admiring the forest, and stopping at the beach. Since it was NOT a “beach day”, we didn’t stay for too long. The track is well formed and considered ‘easy’. It is suitable for children, but we were carrying Eli. There is some thick mud on part of the walk, but even with flip flops, we were able to step around/ over it.
I simply LOVED the lush rainforest growth at the start of the Truman Track!
The track begins in dense, pleasant sub-tropical forest where you will find all kinds of many native New Zealand trees and shrubs. This part of the walk is quite enchanting. It is also damp and rather chilly.
The Open Track
After several minutes spent enjoying the rainforest the track emerges into the open. On both sides of a compact dirt path, there are dense flax bushes. These buses were taller than both of us, so it felt like we were in a maze.
The track ends at a cliff overlooking the Tasman Sea. There are safety barriers in place. From here, you can also continue down a short slippery (it was slippery on this particular day) staircase to Truman Beach. Venturing down to the beach adds a few extra pleasant minutes to your walk. Do not attempt going down to Truman Beach during high tide – it is not safe!
A Beautiful Secluded Beach
The West Coast, as a whole, is really beautiful, but Truman Beach might be one of the nicer beaches. There are eroded rock formations surrounding the beach, and a waterfall. The beach is quite secluded because of the hike to get to it. We only saw a couple of other people while we were there – but then again, the weather wasn’t great so obviously there wouldn’t be anyone sunbathing.
To finish, follow Truman Track back the way you’ve come, to the main road.
The Truman Track is located near two other great West Coast spots, Punakiki Cavern, and the infamous Pancake Rocks.
PLEASE TAKE NOT: The West Coast has very few towns, and what towns there are have limited hours for tourist services. This was a huge surprise to us during our travel through New Zealand! Almost everything is closed by 5pm. Be prepared with ample supplies and petrol when traveling the region. We ended up having to sleep in our car one night, because we ran out of gas. We drove for HOURS without seeing any filling station. More on that coming soon!