Heaphy Track 5 Day Guided Walk
- Duration: 5 Days (approx.)
- Product code: Heaphy5DGuided
Day 1 – Brown Hut to Perry Saddle Hut (approx. 17.5km 5 Hours)
Early pick up at accommodation in Nelson and travel by minivan to Brown Hut (beginning of the track) for a final briefing and the start of your walk. The track gradually climbs through podocarp and beech forest to Flanagan’s Corner (the highest point on the track at 915m). En route, grand views of Aorere Valley open up, with even Mt Taranaki visible on a clear day. From Flanagan’s Corner, it’s a gentle stroll on to Perry Saddle Hut. This is 880 metres above sea level and has bunk-style accommodation for 26.
Day 2 – Perry Saddle Hut to Saxon Hut (approx. 12.4km 4 hours)
This is an easier day with only 4 hours walking. The track passes through kamihi and beech forest before reaching the wide expanse of tussock covered land known as the Gouland Downs. The track meanders down to Cave Brook, passing the famous ‘boot pole’, where trampers have tied their old boots. Past ‘the enchanted forest’, a limestone outcrop with caves and waterfalls, we continue over the final part of the Downs and climb gently to Saxon Hut (16 bunks), our accommodation for this evening.
Day 3 – Saxon Hut to Makay Hut (11.8 kms approx. 3-4 hours)
After a leisurely morning and a late breakfast at Saxon hut we head off across the Saxon downs, crossing several bridged rivers along the way, if we’re lucky enough we might even see some Whio or blue duck, as we reach the end of saxon downs we begin gently climbing a broad ridge where we cross over the boundary between the east and west department of conservation conservancies. From here we continue to climb towards the Makay Downs The track here is also interesting as you will start to see the impressive pink coloured Karamea granite, a crystal-rich mix of quartz, mica and feldspar. We will also be passing by outcrops of giant granite boulders emerging from the tussock. The view from Makay hut is spectacular and allows us to see right down to the west coast and Heaphy river mouth where we will be spending our last night. Now it’s time to relax while your guides prepare another fantastic meal while you sit and enjoy the newest hut on the track built in 2013
Day 4 – Makay Hut to Heaphy Hut ( 20.5 kms approx. 6 hours)
We leave the picturesque location on top of the ridge at Makay Hut this morning, and head off to an even more impressive location, the Heaphy River Mouth! From the hut we transect a great cross section of New Zealand flora, from sub alpine species on the tops, through stunted beech, and then down into ancient Podocarp forest.There are some great glimpses of the river as we head down this section, and as the track gets lower we also start to see the magnificent nikau palms that this section of the West Coast is famous for. Suddenly we reach Lewis hut at the confluence of the Heaphy and Lewis, and its packs off , and time to put your feet up while the guides organize another scrumptious lunch. The environment from here undergoes yet another drastic change; as we meander along the river side the towering Nikau Palms give the surrounds a truly tropical feel. Here at the river mouth we are greeted with the impressive west coast beach and its rolling surf. You’ll have the rest of the afternoon to relax or explore before the final gourmet dinner of the trip and hopefully a magical West Coast sunset for dessert!
Day 5 – Heaphy Hut to Kohaihai (approx. 16.2km – 5 hours)
We walk from the Heaphy Hut along a coastline studded with nikau groves to the track’s end at the Kohaihai River. Some beach walking is possible at low tide. This is a spectacular coastal walk – rated as one of NZ’s best day walks – to complete your Heaphy adventure. Our van meets you at the Kohaihai River mouth from where we transfer you back to Nelson, with stops for lunch and afternoon tea on the way home.
Arrive back in Nelson at approximately 7 pm on Day 5.