Whakatu Coastal Pathway
Whakatu Coastal Pathway provides a continuous off-road urban link between between Stoke and Richmond, and is popular for walking, running and cycling. The pathway begins in Annesbrook and closely follows Whakatu Drive along the Waimea Inlet coastline for most of its length. It connects to Monaco Peninsula Loop and Nelson Airport Perimeter Walkway, and also forms part of Tasman’s Great Taste Trail.
|Length: 6.2 km Annesbrook to Reservoir Creek||Trail Type: Shared Pathway|
|Uses: Walking, running and cycling||Physical Difficulty: Easy|
|Links to: Railway Reserve, Nelson Airport, Monaco Peninsula, Poorman Stream Walkway, Orphanage Stream Walkway, Reservoir Creek Walkway|
The northern end of Whakatu Coastal Pathway begins at the Whakatu Dr-Tahuna Dr roundabout in Annesbrook. The underpass beneath Whakatu Drive next to WoW connects directly to the Railway Reserve Pathway. The southern end of the pathway is next to the Reservoir Creek underpass through to Champion Road in Richmond, where it splits into two sections of the Great Taste Trail; one heading south to Wakefield, the other heading west along Waimea Estuary to Rabbit Island and Mapua.
From the Quarantine Rd-Whakatu Drive roundabout, the pathway heads south alongside Whakatu Drive, joining Kidson Pl, and passing beneath the Nayland Rd Overbridge. From here it continues parallel to Whakatu Drive before reaching a junction with the Airport-Monaco pathway, providing access to Nelson Airport. Turn left at this junction, cross over Poorman Stream (where Poorman Stream Walkway connects), and continue through to Point Road. Cross Point Road and follow the pathway around the cove to the Honest Lawyer.
South of the Honest Lawyer the pathway weaves between open grass and groves of native tree plantings in the coastal reserve land between Whakatu Drive and Waimea Inlet, and after 1.3 km the pathway runs directly alongside the northbound lanes Whakatu Drive, which it continues to do for the remainder of the 2.3 km distance to Champion Road. A wire barrier was installed between the road and the pathway in 2015, creating some protection between the road and the pathway. Railway Reserve Pathway and Orphanage Stream Pathway connect via an underpass beneath Whakatu Drive.
The underpass through to Champion Road marks the southern end of the Whakatu Drive Pathway. Several pathways link directly from here; The Great Taste Trail continues in the form of the along Waimea Estuary; the Richmond Deviation pathway continues south alongside Richmond Deviation through to the Richmond-Wakefield section of the Great Taste Trail. Champion Road underpass links through to the Tasman Aquatic Centre, Saxton Field, and connects directly to the Reservoir Creek Walkway.
The primary purpose of Whakatu Coastal Pathway is to provide an urban link for people travelling between Richmond and Stoke or Nelson, and it serves as an important route for cycling commuters and students. It is not a trail that you would go out to do on its own, but rather you would combine it with one or more of the numerous other trails that connect to it.
A loop combining Whakatu Coastal Pathway and Railway Reserve Pathway is 9.4 km; this is the longest flat, off-road loop that you can do around Stoke without encountering major unprotected road crossings. For extra distance you can add Monaco Peninsula or Nelson Airport Perimeter.