Kakanui River Mouth

KĀkaunui River (kakanui) Mouth


Explore dark mineral breccia containing material erupted from deep in the Earth's mantle and crust. 

During the Eocene, more of Zealandia was below sea level than at the present day.  During this time, submarine volcanoes were active along the present day coastal section of the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark.  

Explore the headland north of the Kakanui River at low tide to discover for yourself wonders that were once hidden in the earth’s mantle that are now exposed at the surface as a result of ancient volcanic activity.  

The rock outcropping at the Kakanui River Mouth is called the Kakanui Breccia.  This Breccia formed as a result of local volcanic activity around 34 million years ago when the present-day coastal area of the Waitaki District was underwater.  The Kakanui Breccia showcases large xenoliths and crystals within a finer groundmass.  

  • Xenoliths are rock fragments that have been ripped from other neighbouring or underlying rock as magma has forced its way to the surface. 

  • Crystals formed deep in the earth and have been bought to the surface with the magma. 

Kakanui River Mouth (North) forms part of the Vanished World Heritage Trail.

Please be aware the following hazards include: tides, wildlife, sharp and slippery rock underfoot, and falling debris from cliffs.  Tsunami risk - If an earthquake is strong or long, get gone.

Latitude: -45:10:59.404

Longitude: 170:54:26.974

Easy walk

2 min


Scenic views  & Photo opportunities


To get to Kakanui River Mouth (north), take Beach Rd into Kakanui. By the Kakanui Store, turn left into Kakanui Rd and follow this road until the end. Parking and picnic table available at the end of the road.


Protection and guardianship are at the heart of the Geopark philosophy. We ask you to treat this site with respect, do not remove anything from this site and preserve it for our future generations.