COVID Safety MeasuresHow we plan to keep you safelearn more
5
Moderate
Activities
  • self-guided walk
Accommodation
  • 1 night motel, 3 nights Department of Conservation Great Walk Hut
Meals
  • 4 Dinners
  • 3 Breakfasts

Price

5 daysfrom

$860NZD

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.


Itinerary

Make your own way to Nelson, the city at the geographical centre of New Zealand, and check-in to your 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:  D

Make your way to the Nelson i-Site for your shared road transfer to the Heaphy Track. 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.

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 towards the coast. Cross the Heaphy River via the longest suspended deck bridge ever built by the Department of Conservation at 148.8m. Conclude your day at the Heaphy Hut, nestled in a stunning location beside the Heaphy River mouth. 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 departs for Nelson around 1:00pm. Trip arrangements end on arrival in Nelson around 7:00pm. NOTE: If you prefer to take your time today, a private shuttle can be arranged from Kohaihai to the village of Karamea later in the afternoon (subject to availability, additional cost applies). In that instance you will need to arrange overnight accommodation in Karamea (own expense) and take the scheduled shuttle to Nelson the following afternoon. Alternatively, a scenic flight can be taken from Karamea for a quick return to Nelson, subject to availability and weather conditions (min 2 passengers, additional cost applies). Transfer from Kohaihai trailhead to Karamea airstrip included.

Meals:  B

Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.



Inclusions

  • 1 night motel accommodation in Nelson (twinshare) with private bathroom
  • 3 nights Department of Conservation (DOC) Great Walk hut in multishare bunk rooms with shared toilet
  • 3 breakfasts, 3 dinners (Radix Nutrition meals)
  • Cooking pot
  • Hot drinks pack including tea/coffee/hot chocolate
  • Drinking water (available from hotels and DOC huts)
  • Rubbish bag, toilet paper
  • Route notes and map
  • Return shared transfers from Nelson to trailheads
  • Great Walk hut fees paid to Department of Conservation
  • Personal Locator Beacon (to be returned at end of trip)
  • $20 per person donation to Kahurangi National Park: Takahe Recovery Program (see www.doc.govt.nz/our-work/takahe-recovery-programme/)

  • Travel to Nelson on Day 1 and onwards from Nelson after trip arrangements end on Day 5
  • 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
  • Optional activities, extras and upgrades
  • Excess luggage storage
  • Hiking pack, sleeping bag, bowl & cutlery (there are limited numbers of these available for hire; please request in advance)
  • Items of a personal nature (eg. laundry, shopping, internet)
  • Car parking in Nelson if self-driving and using the included transfer service between trailheads
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)

Trail Surface


Accommodation


Grading

Moderate  
5

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

Notes

M
Mid Season
Note:
Sleeping bags, hiking packs and eating utensils are available for hire. An extra day on the track can also be added if you prefer to take things more slowly. Additional cost applies.
1
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.
2
A scenic flight can be taken instead of a road transfer from Kohaihai trailhead to either Nelson or Takaka on completion of the walk. Additional cost applies and may vary according to timing and the number of passengers. **Backfill specials apply to seats on relocation legs of flights already booked. Please ask for dates and availability
3
The track can be walked in either direction

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.

Total Priceper person from

$860NZD

Options & Supplements*
  • Reduction all seasons - youth 11 - 17 yrs (NZ resident)NZD$-168
  • Reduction off seasons (May - Sep) - youth 11 - 17 yrs (international)NZD$-168
  • Reduction for summer (Oct - Apr) - youth 11 - 17 yrs (international)NZD$-85
  • Reduction for summer (Oct - Apr) - adult (NZ residents)NZD$-57
  • Karamea to Nelson backfill special flight Oct - Apr **NZD$100
  • Karamea to Nelson flight (min 2 pax) Oct - AprNZD$260
*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.

Kaitiakitanga

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.

Similar trips

Suggested extensions

Join Newsletter
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ADS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Adventures South"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Adventure South</div>
Adventure South NZ is unrivalled in their geographic coverage, originality and overall quality of adventures holidays in New Zealand. Choose from walking, cycling, winter or multi-activity holidays, on either the North or South Island.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/AWH.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Walking Holidays"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Walking Holidays</div>
Australian Walking Holidays specialises in small group guided walking adventures. Since 1982 we have been guiding small groups of travellers on Australia's finest walks across our tropical, coastal or red centre landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GCT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Canadian Trails"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Canadian Trails</div>
Great Canadian Trails specialises in active holidays in Canada. With both guided and supported self-guided options available, our unique itineraries draw upon some of Canada's most inspiring parks, trails and landscapes from coast to coast.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/HUM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Humac Challenge"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Huma Charity Challenge</div>
Huma enables those with adventurous spirits to challenge themselves and make a difference for a cause close to their heart. Travel, fundraise and meet life-long friends on one of Huma's meaningful and unique challenges around the world.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TAS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Tasmania Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Tasmanian Expeditions</div>
Tasmanian Expeditions is the most experienced operator of treks and adventure travel holidays in Tasmania. We own and operate the most comprehensive range of adventure holidays available across Tasmania's varied landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/UTX-new.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Utracks"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>UTracks</div>
UTracks are the active European holiday specialists. Whether you prefer cycling or walking, 2-star or 4-star, small groups or self guided, land, river or sea – UTracks can help you to explore Europe exactly the way you want.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WYA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Youth Adventures"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Youth Adventures</div>
World Youth Adventures is our specialist division dedicated to organising tailor made overseas school group adventures. Specialists in Service Learning projects, choose from more destinations than any other school group provider.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/YOM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Yomads"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Yomads</div>
Yomads offers adventures for the 20s and 30s on six continents. Designed as a way to bring young and likeminded travellers together, Yomads caters to those interested in lightly structured and active trips that allow freedom to roam and explore.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ACT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Cycle Tours"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Cycle Tours</div>
Australian Cycle Tours specialises in high quality self guided and guided cycling experiences in a selection of the most beautiful regions in Australia.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WEX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Expeditions</div>
The pioneers of original, worldwide adventure travel holidays since 1975
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TJX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Trail Journeys"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Trail Journeys</div>
Self-guided cycling experts on New Zealand's Otago Rail Trail and more
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/BMAC.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Blue Mountains Adventure Company"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Blue Mountains Adventure Company</div>
The original Blue Mountains canyoning, hiking, climbing and abseiling experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GWNZ.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Walks of New Zealand"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Walks of New Zealand</div>
Explore New Zealand's most spectacular wilderness regions with the self-guided hiking experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/NAA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="North America Active"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>North America Active</div>
USA Canada hiking & cycling tour specialists, choose from self-guided or guided trips