Southern Circuit FastpackIntermediate - Experienced
Submitted by Katie Brennan
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Back country - remote
Undulating, some big hills
Native bushBeachCoastalRiversideOpen ridges/tops
Intermediate - Experienced
Not Suitable (Slow)
This follows the Southern Circuit on Stewart Island. Please note the mud is no joke!
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This trail follows the Southern Circuit loop, and can be split into two days with an overnight at Cavalier Hunters Hut, or Masons Bay Hut, or as a huge single-day mission.
Start at Freds Camp along a relatively technical Stewart Island track for about 10km. The approach to Rakeahua hut is where the bog begins...The track eventually ducks back into the bush where the long incline to Doughboy Hill starts on a moderate/technical single bush track.
The tops (at 400m) give amazing 360 degree views, but can be boggy. You come to the start of the steep down to Doughboy Bay where you get an incredible, morale-lifting view of the Bay. Once you're at the beach (nice and firm underfoot), re-stock water at Doughboy Bay hut and take it all in before the climb back up to Adams Hill for some awesome views.
Once you get back below the scrub, it is a nice moderate/easy single track down to Mason's Bay.
Then head for some pretty jaw-dropping scenes on your 8km firm beach run to Masons Bay hut.
After signing in at this funky wee hut it is a 16km jaunt on an old sandy 4WD track through dunes, swamp, and manuka forest to Freshwater Hut.
Then you're back into a few km of bog, a couple of km of undulating easy/moderate/technical bush track and then an awesome last few km of moderate gentle downhill to Freds Camp!
There is phone service at the top of the hill before dropping to Freds Camp, call the water taxi and say you'll be 20mins and they'll be there waiting!
Features of interest
Untouched surrounding native bush, beautiful beach views, amazing beach running, historic homestead and huge manuka plantation. It's Stewart Island, need I say more
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 35%
Moderate Single Track: 35%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 30%
Water Taxi to Fred's Camp hut and go from there.
Ferry over to Stewart Island and walk to the Water Taxi.
Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Gaiters.
There are a few creeks and huts to fill up. It's recommended to treat the water prior to drinking.
Muddy, even after dry spells. If you know it has been raining recently, bargain on taking extra time or plan around a weather window if you can. The weather can change very quickly and the tops are very exposed with no shelter.
Post run indulgence
South Seas Hotel
AMAZING fresh fish and chips! The cod here, as can be expected, is delicious. They can also look after your bags (if you stay here) while you're out on the trail. There's beer, coffee, and deep fried food. What more do you need?
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