|You'll stay in comfortable trampers' huts and be lulled to sleep with birdsong. The walk is fully guided, so walk, relax, and enjoy!
Day 1: Nelson to Takaka
Pickup in Nelson, drive to Golden Bay (approximately 2 hours) and stay the night at Annie’s Nirvana Lodge (all included in price). A chance to explore the shops, galleries, and restaurants of Takaka’s eclectic main street.
Day 2: Takaka to Perry Saddle Hut
We drive from Takaka to Collingwood (30 kms) and then on up the Aorere Valley (another 30 kms) stopping en route for a complimentary tea or coffee at the historic Langford Store. The road stops at Browns Hut, the first hut of the track, but we don’t stop here. Our first night is at Perry Saddle Hut (26 bunks), a 5 hour walk with a 700m altitude gain.
The wide, well-graded track climbs gently up through the bush, giving views of Mt. Olympus and the thick bush of the Aorere Valley, and on a fine day it is possible to see Mt. Taranaki in the distance.
Day 3: Perry Saddle Hut to Saxon Hut
An easier day, with only 4 hours walking. The track goes through patches of beech forest before the wide expanse of the tussock covered Gouland Downs comes into view.
The track meanders down to Cave Brook, passing the famous ‘boot pole’ on which trampers over the years have tied their old boots. Then we come to a limestone outcrop, with caves and waterfalls. We visit the oldest hut on the track, the Gouland Downs Hut, then continue on the flatter part of the Downs to Saxon Hut (16 bunks).
Day 4: Saxon Hut to Lewis Hut
The longest day of the walk, made up of a morning 3- 4 hour walk to McKay Hut and another in the afternoon. The track crosses the Saxon River flats, then onto the broad ridge between the McKay and Gouland Downs, passing an old pole marking the boundary between the Nelson and West Coast provinces.
The vegetation varies between tussock and shrub fringed beech forests, and we get views of the ocean in the distance. We have a leisurely lunch at McKay Hut and then begin the long gentle descent (downhill all the way), with the temperature getting warmer as we descend down towards the coast.
The bush is ever changing from the alpine scrub to taller and taller trees and the welcoming sight of the tree ferns and lowland forest. We stay the night at the Lewis Hut (20 bunks) at the junction of the Heaphy and Lewis rivers with a good opportunity for a swim.
Day 5: Lewis Hut to Heaphy Hut
The easiest of the days, a leisurely walk along the river flats of the Heaphy River, with its luxuriant rainforest of kowhai, cabbage trees, and nikau and a visit to one of New Zealand’s biggest rata trees.
In the afternoon there is the option of a swim in the lagoon, walk along the beach, or an off track visit to the very special Field’s Cave.
We stay at the Heaphy Hut for the night (30 bunks).
Day 6: Heaphy Hut to Karamea
**This tour is run in conjunction with another operator.
The final day is a 5 hour walk along the magical West Coast, with high cliffs, pounding seas, nikau and karaka tree forests and wild scenery. After a few hours of walking, the distinctive cone of Kohaihai Bluff may be seen in the distance, our destination for the day*.
At Kohaihai our vehicle is waiting (along with luggage transferred from Takaka) for the short drive into beautiful Karamea (15 minutes), where the group enjoys well-deserved hot showers and a relaxing night at The Last Resort. One night of quality lodge accommodation and breakfast at The Last Resort is included in the price.
Here we can share a drink at the bar, enjoy an evening meal together and of course celebrate our achievements and experiences over the last 5 days together.
Day 7: Karamea to Nelson
After breakfast, we deliver you back to Nelson by 2:30pm (approximately) in time for an afternoon flight/bus or we drop you at your accommodation.