The Heaphy Track
One of New Zealand’s nine great walks, the Heaphy Track, finishes (or starts, depending on which way you’re heading) at Karamea.
Many people choose to walk only to the first or second huts on the track instead of walking its entire length.
The huts, Heaphy and Lewis, are Department of Conservation-maintained bush cabins with gas cooking facilities, open fires, bunks with mattresses, large camping grounds, toilets and running-water facilities.
Travel through expansive tussock downs, lush forests and nīkau palms to the roaring seas of the West Coast.
- Look and listen out for great spotted kiwi/roa around Gouland Downs
- Try and spy the nocturnal carnivorous land snail around Heaphy Hut on a damp night.
- Get on your bike! Mountain bikes are allowed between 1 May and 30 September.
The Heaphy Track is well formed and well marked. All major stream and river crossings are bridged.
You can start the track either from Brown Hut in Golden Bay (156 km from Nelson) or from Kohaihai on the West Coast (110 km from Westport). It's not a circuit track and is described here from Golden Bay to Kohaihai.
Popular walking options
- For a 4 day, 3 night trip, most walkers stay at Perry Saddle, James Mackay and Heaphy Huts.
- For a 5 day, 4 night trip, most walkers stay at Perry Saddle, Saxon, James Mackay and Heaphy Huts.
- A popular 2 day, 1 night trip on the western side is from Kohaihai to Heaphy Hut, returning to Kohaihai.