This is my last (short) hike on our eight day holiday in Samoa – and the O Le Pupu-Pue Coastal Walk (also called the Lava Field Coastal Walkway) turns out to be the best hike I do in Samoa. I’m not sure whether the access road to the trailhead will be suitable for my 2WD hire car – I’d seen it described as a 4WD track – but I have no problem getting from the Main South Coast Road to the start of the hiking trail. There’s a sign at the small carpark, and an obvious trail heading into the jungle.
It’s only a few minute before the trail reaches the first viewpoint, which is at the edge of a low cliff, overlooking the ocean.
The O Le Pupu-Pue Coastal Walk immediately heads back into the pandanus forest. Although the trail follows the edge of the cliffs, for most of the walk you can hear the ocean – but you can’t see it.
The next viewpoint provides another vista over the rugged coastline.
It’s back into the forest again, before the third lookout which offers another ocean view – but this time with a sea arch that’s buffeted by the strong swell.
The last part of the trail is a bit more open and even closer to the edge of the cliffs, and there’s increasingly more dramatic coastal scenery, with another large arch coming into view.
Directly ahead is the lava field at the end of the trail, with the waves almost reaching the top of the lava cliffs.
The path is now right at the edge of the cliffs, as it approaches the lava field.
The vast, stark lava field, which was formed by the eruption of Mt Matavanu between 1905 and 1911, marks the end of the O Le Pupu-Pue Coastal Walk,
From the lava field, you can see you can see Nu’usafe’e, Nu’utele and the islands around Aleipata, and arches in both directions.
It’s an “out and back” walk, so after enjoying the views and isolation, I head back the same way to the car. You can do this walk in about half an hour, but best to allow an hour or so.
Getting to the O Le Pupu-Pue Coastal Walk
The 3.5km access road to the O Le Pupu-Pue Coastal Walk / Lava Field Coastal Walkway is signposted along the Main South Coast Road, about 25km (40min) from Apia. The access road is unsealed but suitable for all cars, at least in the Dry Season. The walk is free and although I’ve read it’s open 7am to 4pm, you should be able to do this walk any time.
The O Le Pupu-Pue Coastal Walk is part of the 29 square kilometre O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park; the name of the park means ‘from the coast to the mountaintop’. It protects 352 native plant species, which represents half of Samoa’s native plant-life, and 51 animal species have been recorded in the reserve. The national park is managed by the Environment and Conservation Unit of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
- Samoa Observer – Coastal walk a hike worth sweating for