Traveller Rating


  • self-guided walk
  • 2 nights motel, 3 nights Department of Conservation Great Walk Hut
  • 3 Dinners
  • 3 Breakfasts


6 daysfrom


Trip Code: GWH

Trip highlights

  • Follow in the footsteps of early Maori pounamu gatherers
  • Diverse wilderness including lush forest, alpine tussock, wild rivers and remote beaches
  • Hike one of New Zealand's less-visited Great Walks
  • Hear great spotted kiwis calling at night
  • Opportunity to spot rare wildlife such as takahe (a flightless bird) and Powelliphanta (a carnivorous snail)

Kahurangi National Park is New Zealand's second largest national park and while it includes huge areas of wild, untracked land it is also home to the Heaphy Track. In the Maori language, "Kahurangi" means treasured possession, which is apt for a region where some of the country's oldest rocks, rarest birds and weirdest plants are found. The route of the Heaphy Track is similarly significant, being that followed by local Maori in search of pounamu (or greenstone) - most definitely a treasured possession - on the west coast. You may be lucky enough to spot a takahe (a rare flightless bird), Powelliphanta (a large carnivorous snail) or a great spotted kiwi along the trail. Add to that a diverse landscape of wild rivers, alpine herbfields, high plateau tussock land, remote beaches and coastal forest and you have all the ingredients for a truly spectacular walk. Sleeping in well maintained huts and cooking your own food, this walk requires the carrying of a full pack.


Make your own way to Nelson, the city at the geographical centre of New Zealand, and check-in to your trip accommodation any time after 2:00pm. You should allow enough time to purchase your lunch and snack supplies for the next four days. Conveniently located supermarkets are usually open until about 8:00pm daily. Your meal pack with breakfasts and dinners for the walk, plus cooking pot and accessories, should be waiting for you at the hotel. It is also worth exploring this city with its colourful main street, historic cathedral, lovely walking and cycling trails, the Centre of New Zealand Lookout (a 20 minute walk with superb panoramic views), vibrant arts and cultural scene, beautiful Tahunanui Beach and a multitude of cafes, restaurants and award-winning breweries showcasing seasonal, regional flavours and artisan produce.

Meals:  Nil

Your transfer to the trailhead this morning will be around 7.30am from the central CBD. The journey takes approximately 3 hrs via the scenic coastal route, with stops along the way including Motueka, Takaka and Collingwood before arriving at Brown Hut, the eastern trailhead. Begin walking with a gradual climb through bushland along an old survey route for a road. The track winds and zig zags its way upwards from 135m above sea level to around 900m at Flanagan Corner. This is about 30 minutes walk from Perry Saddle Hut, tonight's destination, and is worth a stop for a short side trip to the highest point on the trail (915m). Fabulous views await, including a glimpse of Mt Taranaki (Mt Egmont) on the North Island on a clear day. Continue to Perry Saddle Hut nestled on the edge of the treeline and settle in for the night.

Meals:  D

Today is the longest day on the trail but with mostly undulating and downhill gradients it flows easily. The vegetation changes back and forth from patches of tussockland to moss-covered beech forest in this high plateau region. Pass by the historic Gouland Downs Hut and keep an eye out for Takahe in the expansive tussock area. These are rare, native flightless birds recently released here as part of a program to re-introduce the species to the wild. Cross numerous bridged streams and pass Saxon Hut on your way to James Mackay Hut where your day ends. The Heaphy River meets the Tasman Sea 750m below in the distance, an inspiring view of tomorrow's destination. NOTE: If you wish to enjoy the track at a more leisurely pace, an extra day can be added to the trip, staying at Saxon Hut tonight and continuing to James Mackay Hut tomorrow (must be booked in advance).

Meals:  B,D

Leaving the alpine plateau region today the track descends about 700m to sea level. Beautiful beech forest gives way to lush forest of kahikatea, rimu and giant ancient rata, with nikau palms becoming more common on the river flats nearer the coast. Once at the Heaphy Beach, conclude your day at the Heaphy Hut, nestled in a stunning location beside the Heaphy River mouth (easily located from the beach). Enjoy a spectacular sunset while the wild west coast ocean pounds the beach but refrain from swimming here as the rips and currents are dangerous. Listen out for the call of the great spotted kiwi around the Heaphy Hut after dark and beware of the cheeky wekas as they have been known to run off with socks and other items.

Meals:  B,D

The track follows the coastline for the final section, with superb views and many places to stop for photos. Pass remote beaches, staying alert for wave surges at high tide in some well-marked places. Walk beneath rata forest and through groves of nikau palms, cross bridges over gurgling streams, round rugged headlands and stop off at Scotts Beach for a break before the last short climb over Kohaihai Bluff. On arrival at the trailhead, where the Kohaihai River empties into the ocean, celebrate your achievement before your shuttle transfer at approximately 1.00 - 1.30pm through to Westport. Overnight in Westport.

Meals:  B

Your trip arrangements end this morning. Check out from the motel is 10.00am.

Meals:  Nil


  • 1 night motel accommodation in Nelson (twinshare) with private bathroom
  • 1 night motel accommodation in Westport (twinshare) with private bathroom
  • 3 nights Department of Conservation (DOC) Great Walk huts in multishare bunk rooms with shared toilets
  • 3 breakfasts, 3 dinners (Radix Nutrition meals)
  • Crafty Weka trail bars
  • Hot drinks pack including tea/coffee/hot chocolate
  • Drinking water (available from hotels and DOC huts)
  • Cooking pot
  • Rubbish bag, toilet paper
  • App with route notes and map
  • Shared transfer from Nelson to Brown Hut trailhead, and return from Kohaihai to Westport (extra charges may apply outside of peak season or where minimum numbers have not been met).
  • Great Walk hut fees paid to Department of Conservation
  • PLB - Personal Locator Beacon (must be returned as per instructions at the conclusion of the trip otherwise extra charges will apply)
  • Donation to Department of Conservation Takahe Recovery Program

  • Travel to Nelson on Day 1 and onwards from Westport after trip arrangements end on Day 6
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary and trail snacks
  • Drinks other than water, tea/coffee/hot chocolate - good drinking water is available at each night's accommodation
  • Hiking pack & sleeping bag (there are limited numbers of these available for hire; please request in advance); mug/cup & spoon
  • Items of a personal nature (eg. laundry, shopping, internet)
  • Car parking in Nelson if self-driving
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)

Trail Surface




MODERATE - GRADE 5 This adventure involves trekking for up to 6 or 7 hours a day, on average, at a steady pace. You will need a good level of fitness and must be in good health. The trek involves carrying a full pack around 12 - 15kg. Be prepared for potential variable weather conditions and uneven terrain. Suggested preparation: We recommend 45 minutes of aerobic type exercise, three to four times a week. This can include swimming, jogging, hard walking or cycling - good cardiovascular exercise. Hill or stair walking with a loaded pack is also highly recommended at least once a week in variable weather conditions.

Departure dates

Daily departures all year


Sleeping bags and hiking packs are available for hire. An extra day on the track can also be added if you prefer a more relaxed pace. Additional costs applies.
We recommend minimum 2 people for this trip for safety reasons. However, solo travellers with good hiking experience in remote areas with changeable weather will find it achievable.
Please note that additional charges may apply, especially outside of peak season, if minimum number of passengers to/from trailheads are not reached for the scheduled departure transfers. We will advise you at the time of confirmation of booking.

Want to organise a customised tour?

School groups, friends, family trips, corporate events and even making the trail accessible for everyone. Learn how you can organise a Customised Tour with Great Walks of New Zealand.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Backpack hire size 50 - 75LNZD$60
  • Sleeping bag hireNZD$70
  • Extra day on Heaphy TrackNZD$100
  • Single supplement (Nelson and Westport accom only)NZD$250
  • Single Traveller Surcharge (subject to min numbers on tranfers)NZD$600
*Prices listed are per person and also from

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Heaphy Track Self-Guided Hike trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.

Trip reviews

Why walk with us

Self-Guided Experts

Our itineraries have been carefully designed and researched with you in mind.  The logistics are handled for you allowing you the freedom to walk New Zealand at a level of your choosing and in your own stride.


A core Maori value exercising guardianship in relation to nature, flora and fauna and its people, ensuring that sustainability and environment are valued, respected and protected for future generations to enjoy.

Supporting Local

As a small business ourselves, we love supporting and sharing New Zealand with other small and likeminded businesses and communities to showcase for you, what our land and people have to offer.

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