• Mr and Mrs Walking with Kids

The Escarpment Track / Stairway to Heaven - South Kapiti

Updated: Apr 16

8th May 2021

Location: Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay. We drove to Pukerua Bay Train Station and caught the train up to Paekakariki and walked back to Pukerua Bay. We were glad we walked this direction as the walk up was less steep.


Firstly, this is an awesome walk! Although it is definitely not for anyone who has vertigo or is remotely afraid of heights.

There are lots of steps (1,200) and steep drop offs. A lot of the way we had the children hold our hands and walk on the inside of the track (especially as we neared the top). The views are spectacular! We’d definitely recommend staying at the top for a while to admire the view. The climb up was fairly steep but with lots of stops it was definitely manageable.

We found the descent more scary than the ascent, especially the long set of steps straight down. It made you feel like a little trip would see you tumbling down to the ocean.

The kids loved the 2 swing bridges and there’s also some nice forest walks once you start nearing Pukerua Bay (as well as a playground by the station).

Again, it’s spectacular! Highly recommended for adults. We’d be slightly weary bringing young kids we didn’t know though. You’d need to be sure that they were good with heights and following instructions (particularly if it was windy). There is only one way down so not for the faint hearted - It’d be awful if they wanted to bail halfway.


Our lot loved it though so for the right kids, this is exhilarating!


Age of Kids: Miss 6 and Master 8

Walking Time: 4 hours

Length: 10km

Elevation: 220m

Difficulty: Moderate (difficult if you’re afraid of heights).

Amenities: there’s nothing along the track but there are toilets and shops in Pukerua Bay and Paekakareki

Dogs: No

Cellphone Reception: Yes

Shoes: Wear good footwear (we were all in sneakers)


Kids Rating (0-10)

  • Overall Fun Factor: 8

  • Legendary Factor: 9

  • Would we do it again?: 8

  • Exhaustion Factor: 6.5