Cape Foulwind is a prominent headland on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, overlooking the Tasman Sea. It is located ten kilometres west of the town of Westport. It was previously named Rocky Cape by Abel Tasman, the first European to visit it, in 1642.The present name was bestowed upon this promontory by English explorer James Cook in 1770 after his ship Endeavour was blown quite a distance offshore from this point.
Area of the Fur Seal colony
Tauranga Bay at Cape Foulwind is home to a fur seal breeding colony, which is accessible by a well-maintained walking track.That track, the Cape Foulwind Walkway crosses over undulating farmland, and along the edge of a scenic coastal escarpment. The walkway extends from the Cape Foulwind Road to Tauranga Bay. Average walking time is approximately 1.5 hours.
Starting from endemic Hector’s Dolphins, several dolphin species including Orcas, Killer Whales can be observed around the area. Though still in very small numbers, whales such as Southern Right Whales are started making slow comebacks as well (there was a whaling station at the cape).
Cape Foulwind reputedly hosts New Zealand’s closest tavern/pub to Australia, the Star Tavern.
A large cement works is located close to the cape, taking advantage of the abundant limestone, sand and clay in the immediate area, plus nearby coal mines.
In the lee of the cape, toward the Buller River mouth lies Carters Beach, claimed to be the only safe swimming beach on the West Coast of the South Island.
For the former branch railway line to the quarry see Cape Foulwind Railway.