Heaphy East to WestExperienced
Submitted by Steve Beatson
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Back country - remote
Point to Point (one way)
Undulating, some big hills
Native bushCoastalRiversideOpen tussock/grasslands
Not Suitable (Slow)
Recent heavy rain has caused extensive damage to three bridges on the Heaphy Track. The track is now closed between Heaphy Hut and James Mackay Hut. Through trips will not be possible until further notice.
This route is part of the Tailwind Ultra Collection
Well signposted, track fairly easy going overall, a bit stony in places but nothing tricky. Coastal and boggy parts can get flooded after big rains, prone to mist / fog through the mountain section between Perry Saddle and Mackay huts. All big and medium rivers / streams are bridged, no need to carry much water since streams are everywhere (and sandflies!). Huts or shelters are 7 - 14 km apart, but overnight stays need to be booked with DOC (as per Great Walk). Don't forget your rain gear, this is the West Coast! Keep eyes peeled for takahe!
Features of interest
Great variety makes things interesting: beech forest, tussock downs, temperate rainforest with nikau etc, wild West Coast beaches. Good chance of seeing takahe. Kiwi to hear and, if lucky, see at night,
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 0%
Moderate Single Track: 20%
Easy Single Track: 80%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 0%
Gravel Road: 0%
Sealed Road: 0%
Travel south from Collingwood up the Aorere Valley, past Rockville and Bainham, for approximately 35km (45 minutes) to Brown Hut carpark
Plenty of car parking at each end, which are 450km apart! Arranging a car swap or one of several car relocation services are options. Is a bus from Takaka to start of track and also options to fly back to the start.
Well signposted along the entire length.
Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.
Plenty of water - huts / shelters approx 7 - 14 km apart. Plus plenty of streams.
It is the West Coast, so can get very wet at any time of the year. Can snow in winter.
DOC advise that sections Saxon Hut to James Mackay Hut can be affected by heavy rain, a section from Lewis Hut to Heaphy Hut (following the Heaphy River) can flood during heavy rain and big tides, and that sections from Heaphy Hut to Kohaihai road end can be affected by high tides.
Post run indulgence
Laid back friendly place for a coffee and cooked breakfast while talking about the previous day's adventures on the Heaphy. Is a bit hard to spot, but located next to the Four Square .
Karamea - just across the bridge out of town to the south.
Open air spa pool to soak in after the big day on the track. Modern accommodation and great hosts.
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