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  • Heaphy Track
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Overview
For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

Heaphy Track

Start:MotuekaTours run:September - March
End:Motueka
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moderate grade
Duration:6 days/5 nights
NZ $1,990.00
Hiking

New Zealand Hiking Tours

What Makes Our Heaphy Track Walk So Special?

 
  • We provide pick up and delivery from Nelson.
  •  We stop for a cup of tea or coffee (on us!) at the historic Langford Store before we hit the trail.
  •  Our meal menu is varied and prepared with fresh food. (Vegetarian options also available)
  •  We drive back to Nelson through Westport and the scenic Buller Gorge, and describe the interesting scenery on the way.






QualmarktinyGold


Beauty That Can Never Be Tamed

 


The Heaphy Track at the top of the South is one of 9 official New Zealand Great Walks, and is considered by many to be the most beautiful.

Sometimes wild and lonely, sometimes lush and scenic, the track covers 78 km from Collingwood in Golden Bay, to Karamea on the West Coast. There’s pounding surf, rivers, rimu forest, tussock land, stunning nikau palms, and classic back country huts.

Walk with an expert local guide in this beautiful part of the country.The bird life features a roll call of New Zealand’s iconic birds, including kiwi, alpine parrots (kea), rare whistling blue ducks (whio), moreporks (owls/ruru) and bellbirds.


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Book now for Next Season!

2019

15th-20th September
22nd-27th September
6th-11th October
13th-18th October
20th-25th October
27th October - 1st November
3rd-8th November
10th-15th November
17th-22nd November
24th-29th November
1st-6th December
8th-13th December
15th-20th December
29th December - 3rd January
 

2020

5th-10th January
12th-17th January
19th-24th January
2nd-7th February
9th-14th February
16th-21st February
23rd-28th February
1st-6th March
8th-13th March
22nd-27th March
 
 
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Dates and Availability?

Tours run:September - March
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Customisations?

We can customise tours to suit.

Nicky

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Hamish

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Itinerary & Map

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

New Zealand Hiking Tours

What Makes Our Heaphy Track Walk So Special?

 
  • We provide pick up and delivery from Nelson.
  •  We stop for a cup of tea or coffee (on us!) at the historic Langford Store before we hit the trail.
  •  Our meal menu is varied and prepared with fresh food. (Vegetarian options also available)
  •  We drive back to Nelson through Westport and the scenic Buller Gorge, and describe the interesting scenery on the way.






The Heaphy Track


Beauty That Can Never Be Tamed

.
Join us on the Heaphy Track for one of New Zealand's Department of Conservation Great Walks.

You'll cross 78 km of the Kahurangi National Park ('Kahurangi' in Maori means 'treasured possession').

All around you: the distinctive native nikau palms unique to the northern South Island and southern North Island.

 
Heaphy Track Tour Map
largemap
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: Motueka to Perry Saddle Hut


Motueka to the start of the track in the Aorere Valley in Golden Bay. The road takes us over the renowned Takaka Hill, also known as ‘Marble Mountain’ for its huge outcrops of limestone marble rock. We then travel down the beautiful Takaka Valley, through the township of the same name, then turn inland to the Aorere Valley.

The track commences at Brown River and climbs on a well graded track through lowland then podocarp-beech forest. We reach the highest point on the track (910m) approximately 40 minutes from our destination for the night - Perry Saddle Hut (a distance of 17 km - 6 hours). From the hut there are spectacular views of the distant saw-toothed Douglas Range and the Dragon’s Teeth.

 

 

Day 2: Perry Saddle Hut to Saxon Hut


Entering the Gouland Downs.

An easy day of flat to undulating walking. First through kamahi-beech-quintinia forest, then across the rolling tussock grass lands of the Gouland Downs - a peneplain.

We stop at the historic Gouland Downs Hut for lunch, then continue through the ‘Enchanted Forest’. This is a limestone remnant with beech forest.

On across the Downs, we walk through more magic forest with Dracophyllum traversii and D. townsonii.

Our destination, Saxon Hut, is situated in tussock country. (A distance of 13 km - approx. 3 1/2 hours walking time, but we will be taking most of the day observing things along the way).


 

Day 3: Saxon Hut to Lewis Hut


The lush forest opens to a distant view of the Heaphy River mouth. This day may be done in two sections or an overnight option at Mackay is possible. Check with your guide as to your route.

In the morning we leave the Gouland Downs, and gently wind our way up and over to the edge of the Mackay Downs, then onto the Mackay Hut for our lunch break. Here we have glimpses of the Tasman Sea and tomorrow’s destination at the Heaphy mouth.

If you are overnighting at Mackay, a visit to the ‘tops’ above the hut is an afternoon option. Expansive and panoramic vistas around the mountains and out to the Tasman Sea may be viewed.

If continuing to Lewis Hut today, we encounter a different flora habitat once again, with the banks along the track covered with mosses and a huge diversity of other plants. The geology changes to granite country itinerary cont’d

with wonderful outcrops. We descend to the Heaphy valley floor. The track winds gradually down through ever changing forest with new species being added constantly, until the first nikau palm appears and the forest takes on a jungle-like appearance. The Lewis Hut is situated on the confluence of the Heaphy and Lewis Rivers. From Saxon Hut to Lewis Hut is 24 km, approx. 7 - 8 hours.



Day 4: Lewis Hut to Heaphy Hut


On the way to Lewis Hut we encounter a different flora habitat once again, with the banks along the track covered with mosses and a huge diversity of other plants. The geology changes to granite country with wonderful outcrops. We descend to the Heaphy valley floor, as the track winds gradually down through ever changing forest with new species being added constantly, until the first nikau palm appears and the forest takes on a jungle like appearance. The Lewis Hut is situated on the confluence of the Heaphy and Lewis Rivers.

From Lewis Hut, the Heaphy River approaches the West Coast of New Zealand. Only an 8 km - 2 1/2 hours walking. But a longer time may be taken as there is so much to see. After crossing the Heaphy swing bridge, the mixed lowland rainforest flora and the limestone outcrops cannot be rushed. There is little of this forest type left in New Zealand. We follow the river all the way to the mouth, arriving at Heaphy Hut.

 


Day 5: Heaphy Hut to Karamea


For the entire day the track hugs the coast and goes in and out of nikau and karaka groves beside pounding surf beaches. We stop for a picnic lunch en route to our finish at Kohaihai. There is magnificent scenery all the way (16 km., 5 - 6 hours).
Tonight your meal is at your own cost
 


Day 6: Karamea to Nelson


On the morning of day 6 we will leave Karamea in our own transport at approx. 9am for the 5 1/2 hour scenic drive to Motueka or Nelson. This route will take you down the Northern West Coast to Westport, then through the picturesque Buller Gorge.

We will be stopping en route at Murchison for a light lunch. Arrival time in Nelson will be approx. 3 to 3:30pm, so it is advisable not to book a flight out of Nelson until after 4:30pm in the event of unforeseen circumstances delaying our return.


Any excess luggage left behind in Motueka whilst you are on the track, will be transferred to you back in Nelson.  Please pack an overnight bag only for your  Karamea night.

 


 

 


 
**This tour is run in conjunction with another operator.
 
Accommodation:
  • Hiking
 
Hrs, KM


Book now for Next Season!

2019

15th-20th September
22nd-27th September
6th-11th October
13th-18th October
20th-25th October
27th October - 1st November
3rd-8th November
10th-15th November
17th-22nd November
24th-29th November
1st-6th December
8th-13th December
15th-20th December
29th December - 3rd January
 

2020

5th-10th January
12th-17th January
19th-24th January
2nd-7th February
9th-14th February
16th-21st February
23rd-28th February
1st-6th March
8th-13th March
22nd-27th March
 
 
btn enquire

 
Heaphy download

 


What's Included

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

New Zealand Hiking Tours

What Makes Our Heaphy Track Walk So Special?

 
  • We provide pick up and delivery from Nelson.
  •  We stop for a cup of tea or coffee (on us!) at the historic Langford Store before we hit the trail.
  •  Our meal menu is varied and prepared with fresh food. (Vegetarian options also available)
  •  We drive back to Nelson through Westport and the scenic Buller Gorge, and describe the interesting scenery on the way.






The Heaphy Track


Accommodation


Night 1 to 4: 
Department of Conservation back country huts. Heating, outside toilets, cold running water, no showers. Bunk beds with mattress provided, walkers carry a sleeping bag.

Night 5: 
Lodge accommodation, double or twin units with ensuite bathrooms. Licensed restaurant and house bar.

Pre tour we can arrange your accommodation for you in Motueka at a price and style which suits you.

 
 

Food


You will enjoy great local cuisine;  breakfasts and hearty packed lunches during the day, and either restaurant meals or wholesome home-cooked fare prepared by your host/hostess in the evenings.

If you have any dietary issues or food allergies, we are happy to cater for these, please advise the office of details when you make your booking.

Alcohol is not included in the tour cost, you are welcome to bring a small amount with you for personal consumption if you wish.

Dinner on Night 5 is at your own cost.
 



Heaphy Track Tour Guides
 
 

Fully Guided


Our guides are very experienced, friendly walkers and bikers who love to share their knowledge of New Zealand’s flora and fauna and local history. They all hold current first aid certificates, passenger driving licences and are the very best people to ensure your experience will be one to remember.


 
Heaphy Track Tour Guides
Staff induction day


 
Heaphy Track Tour Guide
End of season staff function


Book now for Next Season!

2019

15th-20th September
22nd-27th September
6th-11th October
13th-18th October
20th-25th October
27th October - 1st November
3rd-8th November
10th-15th November
17th-22nd November
24th-29th November
1st-6th December
8th-13th December
15th-20th December
29th December - 3rd January
 

2020

5th-10th January
12th-17th January
19th-24th January
2nd-7th February
9th-14th February
16th-21st February
23rd-28th February
1st-6th March
8th-13th March
22nd-27th March
 
 
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Heaphy download

 


Photos

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

New Zealand Hiking Tours

What Makes Our Heaphy Track Walk So Special?

 
  • We provide pick up and delivery from Nelson.
  •  We stop for a cup of tea or coffee (on us!) at the historic Langford Store before we hit the trail.
  •  Our meal menu is varied and prepared with fresh food. (Vegetarian options also available)
  •  We drive back to Nelson through Westport and the scenic Buller Gorge, and describe the interesting scenery on the way.








Book now for Next Season!

2019

15th-20th September
22nd-27th September
6th-11th October
13th-18th October
20th-25th October
27th October - 1st November
3rd-8th November
10th-15th November
17th-22nd November
24th-29th November
1st-6th December
8th-13th December
15th-20th December
29th December - 3rd January
 

2020

5th-10th January
12th-17th January
19th-24th January
2nd-7th February
9th-14th February
16th-21st February
23rd-28th February
1st-6th March
8th-13th March
22nd-27th March
 
 
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Heaphy download

 


History

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

New Zealand Hiking Tours

What Makes Our Heaphy Track Walk So Special?

 
  • We provide pick up and delivery from Nelson.
  •  We stop for a cup of tea or coffee (on us!) at the historic Langford Store before we hit the trail.
  •  Our meal menu is varied and prepared with fresh food. (Vegetarian options also available)
  •  We drive back to Nelson through Westport and the scenic Buller Gorge, and describe the interesting scenery on the way.






 

The Heaphy Track


People


Golden Bay Maori travelled to central Westland for many generations, where they gathered pounamu (greenstone) for tools, weapons and ornaments.

The track is named after Charles Heaphy. In 1846, he and Thomas Brunner, were the first Europeans to traverse the track.

A gold miner named Aldridge is believed to have traversed the inland portion first in 1859. Over the following years the route was developed to a pack-track standard by prospectors.

A proposed road from Collingwood to the West Coast caused major controversy in the early 1970’s. The road never went ahead.

Near the Heaphy Hut on the bank of the Heaphy River was once a 13th to 14th century village, settled by people whose parents or grandparents could well have been born in Polynesia.

"Sections of stone paving were found at the site during excavations in the 1960s, which is extremely rare for early New Zealand archaeological sites. The site was first excavated in 1961, which is just as well because two thirds of the original site has now eroded. A team from DOC, the University of Otago, the Historic Places Trust and Ngati Waewae is recording as much of the remaining site as possible before the river reclaims it.

 
Heaphy Track Tour Wildlife
No wet feet!
moa, Heaphy Track Tour Wildlife
Moa
If sighted - please photograph (not too close) - and inform us as soon as possible
flax, Heaphy Track Tour Wildlife
NZ Flax


Flora and Fauna


Flora: The track climbs through beautiful forest dominated by red and silver beech. Tiny orchids grow on the forest floor, many of them flowering in summer. At higher levels the trees are stunted and mountain beech appears near Perry Saddle.

Beyond the saddle are the Gouland Downs; the rolling areas of red tussock with occasional patches of stunted silver beech are a spectacular sight, and somewhat eerie when the clouds lower. Flax, stunted shrubs and small herbs live among the sheltering tussocks. In boggy places, tiny sundews catch insects on sticky droplets, absorbing valuable nutrients from their quarry. Several plants found on the downs occur nowhere else, including a yellow-flowered lily and a small native foxglove.

Beyond Gouland Downs, the track travels through more tussock fields and patches of beech.

From James Mackay Hut the track passes through beech forest and then, the forest changes and the fleshy-fruited New Zealand "pine" trees - appear. Rimu is predominent, but miro, kahikatea and matai also abound.

At the Lewis River nikau palms appear.

Where the track skirts the beach the forest is very lush with many large-leaved glossy plants and vines. The cold sea runs far up the beaches and pounds the rocky points where wiry clumps of shrubs testify to the wind's strength and direction.

Fauna: Native weka, tui, bellbird, pigeon and robin can be readily seen. You may also see kea and kaka, and the blue duck. If you listen carefully you may hear the great spotted kiwi.

Long-tailed bats can be seen in the open, feeding at dusk on insects. Long-tailed bats and the rarer short-tailed bat are New Zealand's only native land mammals. Both are threatened species.

Kahurangi National Park has half of New Zealand's 40 species of carnivorous land snail (Powelliphanta). They shelter during the day and come out on damp nights to feed on native worms, which grow up to a metre long.

Deer numbers are low, while pigs (which eat Powelliphanta), goats and hares have yet to spread to the west of the park in any numbers.

Damage to forests near the track is minimal except on the West Coast, where the impact of possums on mature rata trees is becoming severe. Possums are also known to feed on native land snails.
 
rifleman, Heaphy Track Tour Wildlife
Rifleman
kakabeak, Heaphy Track Tour Wildlife
Kakabeak
bellbird3, Heaphy Track Tour Wildlife
Bellbird
 


Book now for Next Season!

2019

15th-20th September
22nd-27th September
6th-11th October
13th-18th October
20th-25th October
27th October - 1st November
3rd-8th November
10th-15th November
17th-22nd November
24th-29th November
1st-6th December
8th-13th December
15th-20th December
29th December - 3rd January
 

2020

5th-10th January
12th-17th January
19th-24th January
2nd-7th February
9th-14th February
16th-21st February
23rd-28th February
1st-6th March
8th-13th March
22nd-27th March
 
 
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Heaphy download

 


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  • Department of Conservation
  • Tourism Industry
  • CTONZ

contact us

nznew zealand: 0800 377 378
auaustralia: 1800 044 633
internationalworld: +64 3 962 3280
email tuatara toursinfo@tuataratours.co.nz