21 - Cable Bay Walkway

The walkway runs between the Glen and Cable Bay, with spectacular views and some impressive bush. Parts are steep and a reasonable fitness level and strong shoes are needed. It is on private farmland, so please respect this by using stiles and kissing gates, not farm gates, sticking to the track and leaving your dog at home.


Please note: The Cable Bay Walkway closes annually for lambing 1 August – 7 October. The Walkway also closes if there is a high fire risk.

Time: 3-4 hours one way

Area: Nelson's north coast

Note: A good way to do this walk is to arrange for two parties, leaving from each end with a swap of car keys over lunch. The walkway is closed during the hours of darkness and during lambing - check with DOC.

Start Location: Head north from Nelson along State Highway 6 turning left onto Glen Road just before the Gentle Annie Saddle. Drive to the end of the road and leave your car at the car park.

Download the Cable Bay Walkway map (37KB PDF)

Route directions

Walk up Airlie Street to the start of the walkway. There is a loop track at this stage so you can choose your route (see Walk 19).

The 4WD track which goes straight ahead on the right of the woolshed is less steep. This track winds up the hill through stream crossings and gates. Where the 4WD track takes a right turn, take a hard right straight up the hill to the next walkway sign. Carry on up the grass paddock to the airstrip where there is a seat with a view to reward your climb, and signs indicating the downhill loop.

The track carries on downhill to the right of the seat. At the top of the airstrip there are seats, toilets, an interpretive panel and a gate to the next section of the walkway, which is downhill. The view is of Pepin Island and D'Urville Island in the distance.

The walkway enters a forest of whiteywood, pigeonwood and tawa, then into beech forest. This part of the walk is a QEII National Trust Protected Open Space and there are species such as lancewood and nikau coming away underneath the canopy of trees. About here you should meet your mates for lunch if you've organized a key swap.

The track carries on uphill and downhill with the beech merging into another band of coastal forest. Then you are back onto paddocks with a view out to sea and over Cable Bay. The farm with its tennis courts used to be the site of the extensive buildings of the cable station, New Zealand's first modern communication link with the world. The cable connected New Zealand and Australia between 1876 and 1914, when it was shifted to Titahi Bay. It offered settlers a four day connection with home compared to six weeks by sea mail.

Follow the markers to the interpretive panel at the other end of the walkway.