|Heaphy Track Map, with guided walk guidelines|
Prices include all food, hut passes and transport ex Motueka or Nelson. We can arrange your accommodation for you in Motueka at a price and style which suits you. See accommodation page. We will get you back to Motueka or Nelson on day 6, unless your option is to carry on down the West Coast.
A unique feature of our Heaphy Trip is our Heaphy feast and 'bush tucker' addition to the evening meal on Day 4!
More about Bush & Beyond cuisine.
|The remote, peaceful beach at the Heaphy Mouth is renowned for its sunsets|
This service is an economical alternative for people who want expert guiding but who are willing to provide their own food. Full interpretation is provided, with a focus on flora, fauna, geology, history and conservation in the Kahurangi National Park.
Bush & Beyond also provide transport (ex Motueka), safety gear (medical kit and locator beacon) and hut passes (and bookings if required). Clients will be expected to supply, carry and cook all their own food, using their own cooking gear.
|Flanagans Corner offers stunning views from the highest point on the Heaphy Track|
We begin with a two-hour scenic drive from your accommodation in 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 it's 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.
|Entering the Gouland Downs|
|The lush forest opens to a distant view of the Heaphy mouth|
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 track side. 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).
|The Heaphy River, approaching the West Coast of New Zealand.|
A chance for the fitter walker to climb Mount Perry first thing in the morning for the spectacular views into the Aorere Valley, across the Gouland Downs and out to Tasman Bay (on a clear day Mount Taranaki in the North Island can be seen).
A fossick among the moss dripping beech trees of the Enchanted Forest, checking out some of the cave entrances in this lovely limestone outcrop.
Once again at night listening to the great spotted kiwi.
The rare endemic Bulbinella talbotii can be found on the Downs, along with the Pseudopanax lineris.
|Nikau's become more and more evident as you approach the West Coast|
The lush forest opens to a distant view of the Heaphy 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 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.
The Mackay and Gouland downs are the exhumed remnants of the Late Cretaceous to mid-Tertiary era (80-60 million years ago). You will see attractive boulders of pink coloured karamea granite, black flecks of mica and white flecks of quartz. In addition, there are stunning giant boulders trackside which will inspire your imagination!
Bird encounters may include rifleman, bellbird, grey warbler, tomtit, and our very friendly South Island robin. Another highlight over the late summer and autumn months is definitely the fungi. Pseudowintera traversii can be found here. It is endemic to this area.
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 rain forest 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.
Where do we start! The huge change in habitats and flora, the greatest change over the whole track occurs today, from the sub-alpine downs to veritable rain forest.
The Nikau Podocarp and giant Northern Rata forest will leave you breathless. Along with idyllic river scenes and, in season, the Earina and Winika perching orchids
Spend the afternoon beach combing on the driftwood strewn shore and/or swimming in the large sandbar protected lagoon (but not swimming in the spectacular but dangerous surf!)
Maybe just a relaxing afternoon with a book.
And finally the chance to experience the famous Heaphy sunset!
|The roar of surf is a constant companion during your guided walk on later stages of the Heaphy Track|
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).
|Dinner at the Karamea Village Hotel, real West Coast hospitality.|
We spend our final night, with a celebratory dinner at the Last Resort- a very special place and experience real West Coast hospitality.
The restaurant has won awards for their regional cuisine, including their famous whitebait (a New Zealand native fish) patties.
This is a fun night of relaxation and laughter, full of camaraderie after spending five adventurous days together!
Return to Motueka or Nelson
On the morning of day 6 we will leave Karamea in our own transport at approx. 9 to 10:00am 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, supplied by Bush and Beyond. 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 awaiting you at the Karamea Hotel, where we finish the walk.
If you are continuing on down the West Coast after your Heaphy walk, we can drop you off in Westport if desired.
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