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Caution Note: Floods in February 2022 caused major damage to three bridges on the West Coast end of the track, leading to the closure of the section between James Mackay Hut and Heaphy Hut. The rest of the track and all the huts are open, and the track can be accessed for return trips from either road-end. Through-travel is not possible until the bridges are rebuilt and the damaged section of track repaired.

The Heaphy Track is a tramping track in the north-west of the South Island of New Zealand. It passes Mt Perry and contains some caves with glow worms, rain forest, river walks and coastal walks. It is one of the Department of Conservation (DOC) Great Walks.


Morning at Heaphy Hut

The 78.4 km (47.7 mi) Heaphy tramping track travels through the spectacular scenery of the Kahurangi National Park area. One end is on the coast 14km (8.6 mi) from Karamea and the other end is Brown Hut, 28km (17.3 mi) from Collingwood on Golden Bay. The track passes through many diverse landscapes, passing through tall verdant temperate rain forests, though limestone country, though high tussock plains, across pristine rivers, through nīkau palms and along the coastline of the Tasman Sea. The track is named after an early explorer and surveyor Charles Heaphy (1820-1881).

Trampers typically take 4 to 5 days to complete the track.

Get in[edit]

Heaphy Track - Cave Entrance with Creek Running out
Heaphy Track - cave entrance with creek running out

The nearest town to the northern end of the track is Collingwood and is easily accessible from Nelson via car, bus. There is also a local airport at Takaka.

The southern end of the walk at Kohaihai is 14 km (8.6 mi) from Karamea and is accessible by car and bus via Westport. There is also a local airport at Karamea.

Heaphy Track[edit]

Heaphy Track - Side track to Mt Perry - unmaintained.

The track is classed as a Great Walk and is open and bookable over the whole year.

The Heaphy Track has 7 Great Walks huts with roving wardens, and 9 camping areas.

Depending on the hut they have bunks from 8 to 54 people, mostly provide gas for cooking, running water and toilets.

Hut and camping fees are to be paid to DOC before travel. Space is limited.

A side trip to the top of Mt Perry takes you above the tree line and presents wonderful views of the remote rugged and pristine national park.

Mountain bikes may be used during the winter months.


Bring all your own food and cooking utensils. Gas stoves are provided at most but not all huts.

As you will be carrying food for each day of your walk and some spare food for emergencies, you should take lightweight nutritious meals and nibbles. As you will be doing strenuous exercise, don't under-cater.


Heaphy Track along the coast of the Tasman Sea - Dance - Strong rips - Waves can impact track with storm surges at high tide

The water is excellent, however if unsure, you may wish to sterilise it. Remember to consume sufficient each day so that you do not become dehydrated from the walk.


The bunks are comfortable but snoring of other walkers in the dormitory can be a problem for some. There can at time be issues with noisy people late at night or people leaving early in the morning. Some people take ear plugs for a better night's sleep.

A good sleeping bag is necessary as the weather can be cold even in summer.


Map of Heaphy Track

1 Brown Hut

2 Perry Saddle Hut

3 Gouland Downs Hut

4 Saxon Hut

5 James Mackay Hut

6 Lewis Hut

7 Heaphy Hut

1 Scotts Hill Lookout

1 Kohaihai River Mouth

Stay safe[edit]

The weather in the Kahurangi National Park can change very quickly and the exposed areas can experience high winds and dense cloud. Don't take any weather warnings lightly.

Stinging nettles along the coast can provoke strong and dangerous allergic reactions.

The NZ Met Service publishes regular weather updates for Mt Luxmore on their website.[1]

Sunrise at Brown Hut after rain

Go next[edit]


Other walks[edit]

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