New Zealand

Heaphy Track Great Walk

Quick Info

Heaphy Track Map
  • 4 to 6 day tramp
  • 78.4 kilometres
  • 7 huts
  • non-circuit, approx 400 kilometres between track ends via road
  • an old Maori trail from Golden Bay to Westland to obtain greenstone (pounamu)
  • pack-track for European gold prospectors
  • track passes through a variety of native bush including beech forest, tussock land and podocarp
  • native birds include weka, tui, bellbirds and robin

Huts and Times

StartDistance (kms)Time (hrs)EndBunksHut amenities
Brown Hut 17.5 5 Perry Saddle Hut 24 Cooking, heating
Perry Saddle Hut 7 2 Gouland Downs Hut 8 Heating
Gouland Downs Hut 5.4 1.5 Saxon Hut 16 Cooking, heating
Saxon Hut 11.8 3 James MacKay Hut 26 Cooking, heating
James MacKay Hut 12.5 3.5 Lewis Hut 20 Cooking, heating
Lewis Hut 8 2.5 Heaphy Hut 28 Cooking, heating
Heaphy Hut 16.2 5 Kohaihai River Mouth    

Walk Description

The Heaphy Track Great Walk is a four to six day tramp stretching from the eastern edge of the Kahurangi National Park through to the West Coast. It is the longest Great Walk at 78.4 kilometres and passes through a wide variety of landscapes and native bush.

The track starts in beautiful forests with large numbers of silver beech. As the track climbs higher and passes over Perry Saddle, areas of tussock begin to dominate the landscape in an area where there are several species of plant life found nowhere else. These species include a yellow lily and native foxglove.

Near Perry Saddle Hut is a cold yet popular bathing spot for the truly keen. Further on near Gouland Downs Hut are some fascinating limestone formations, the remains of old caves.

After descending to pass James MacKay Hut, the track enters an area of podcarps including the mighty rimu, kahikatea and matai as well as rata, kamahi and hinau. At the hut the Tasman Sea can spotted a mere 15 kilometres away.

After the Lewis Hut nikau palms join the rich variety of plant life along the track as well as the annoying sandfly.

The final day's tramping passes through stunning West Coast scenery, however trampers must take care at Crayfish Point and not attempt the beach track here one hour either side of high tide or in rough conditions. Tide times are available at the Lewis and Heaphy huts and also at the Kohaihai shelter at the track end.

How to get there

Possibly the most difficult aspect of the Heaphy track is organising transport between the two track ends. The remoteness of the track is reflected in the fact that it is 400 kilometres by road back to Collingwood from the end of the track. However there are many transport providers based in Collingwood and Takaka that provide lifts for weary trampers.

Accommodation is available in Collingwood, Takaka and Karamea and supermarkets available in Takaka and Karamea. The main centres of Nelson and Westport are not too far away either.

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