White Rock: Gravel Roads Lead To The Best Kinds Of Intrepid Spaces

Had my very first visit to White Rock today.

I’ll be honest: I did need to do some digging and asking-around in order to figure out just how to get there.  I found none of the corresponding search results on Google to be the least bit helpful or informative (one of the main reasons this blog exists, ironically).

So, I asked my ‘Bro’ at work, who gave me a really decent heads-up; alas, still a little vague (for me), given the new territory involved, but super-helpful all the same.

I had happily reached the point where I was able to enter something on my smartphone’s GPS, and see what happened.


So, to get to White Rock you basically head to Martinborough – easy, given all the signage which pretty much starts coming at you when you hit the bottom of the Rimutaka Hill and enter Featherston.  Once you arrive, you then get on to White Rock Road and follow it all the way to the end.

Useful hints and tips for this part:-

  • There are a couple of “easy” intersections before you meet the more confusing gravel road portion of the route, where you need to choose a direction in a “blinder” kind of way – nevertheless, keep heading right, so you’re actually orienting yourself south-eastwards towards Cape Palliser (which is just around the corner from White Rock).
  • Stay on the route that takes you to ‘Tora’ – when you see the signpost for the ‘Tora Coastal Walk’, bypass it and go straight to the gravel road.

The gravel road is a major works-burger – windy (as-in curvy and curly), windy (howling), dusty, overrun with stock (sheep and cows, mainly (take care, seriously)), and scenic as heck.

You’ll find it hard to keep your eyes on the road – do keep them fixed on there though, or you may find yourself in a bit of a situation with wayward stock.

Eventually, you’re presented with a T-junction and the option to turn right and onwards to the ‘Haurangi Range’ (also known as the “Aorangi” Range).  Don’t go right, go left, and you’ll immediately see a big sign tagging White Rock Station.

This means you’re almost at the rock.

Parking at the beach that hosts White Rock is totally self-explanatory…

Park and go.

On one side of the landscape is a portion of the range with lush green hills running parallel, and together they’re stunning.  On the other side: black sand, azure-blue water, and the centrepiece of all centrepieces.  I chose the latter, and to get up-close-and-personal with the very reason I was there.

The rock itself is massive (^); it’s majestic, and intimidating, and everything it should be.  Decrepit wooden posts and flat patches of terrain around the outside hint at past opportunities for climbing the thing.

And, I’d be fibbing if I said the thought never crossed my mind when I first arrived.  But once you get a feel for the wind and the ocean swells on offer here, you definitely do reconsider – as you should, I reckon.

Always-always-always be safe.

One thing that did strike me and leave an impression was the tendency for the sand closer to the rock to crack and fall-away underfoot, as though it had been baked hard on top and given a thin crusty layer.

Weird, I know – it certainly felt weird to walk around on, but it was also very cool and interesting.  A real trademark of the place, in my mind.

The decision not to summit the rock won’t inhibit opportunities to get tactile with it.  In fact, I encourage you to do this.  Get in there and climb around the bottom part, and see all the different kinds of textures that have knitted this thing together.  Some look fossilized, other parts sparkle and shimmer like there’s clear quartz crystal inside, and there are all manner of peaks, troughs, and trenches to keep you busy.

A geologist would be beside themselves.  So would your average bouldering devotee, come to think of it.  And if you just happen to be both, well: “you’re welcome” (*grins*).


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