Last Updated: 25th May 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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Heaphy Hut Out & Back

Heaphy Hut, Heaphy Great Walk

The Heaphy Great Walk

Karamea, West Coast

Submitted by Stewie Stuart

Last Updated: 25th May 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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Grunt Factor: 37 ?

Gnarl Factor: 15 ?







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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush




Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +5.8%

Average Downhill Gradient: -5.8%


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Estimated Times to Run







A good out and back to one of the seven great walk huts on the Heaphy track. Keep an eye out for lots of native birds such as Tui and Kereru in the trees as well as Hectors Dolphins in the water off the coast.

Starting at Kōhaihai campground, follow the signs to the start of the Heaphy Track. The track crosses across the Kōhaihai River along a large swing bridge before a graded climb up and over the Kōhaihai Saddle.

Descending from the saddle you reach Scotts Beach and Campsite before continuing northwards towards Crayfish Point for a photo opportunity. From here continue northwards through sections of beach and Nikau palm groves before arriving at Katipo Creek Campsite. You are now 1/4 of the way through the run.

After Katipo Creek Shelter you reach Nettle and Twenty Minute Beach where the track darts in and out of Nikau Groves. There is a very small climb out of twenty minute beach before a descending towards a bridge crossing an unnamed stream before arriving at Heaphy Beach.

After a short while a marker shows 1km to the hut where the track moves away from the beach and inland along a grassy track towards the Heaphy Hut. Heaphy Hut overlooks the Heaphy River mouth, which is an exciting place. The river surges out through a narrow gap into the sea - incoming waves halt the flow and the churning of salt and fresh waters is spectacular. Limestone cliffs and lush tropical forest with nikau palms surround the area.

Retrace your steps southward back towards the Kōhaihai River Campsite to round off this out and back. Note it is dangerous to swim at both the Heaphy and Kōhaihai River Mouths due to extreme tidal currents and rips. There is a couple of small swim spots along the Kōhaihai River if you made a 'bush bash' detour off the track. Do be careful of stinging nettle present along the track in some areas.

Keep an eye out for Hectors Dolphins often seen off the coast along the run.

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

Lots of parking available at Kōhaihai Campground.

18 km




Track is well signposted all of the way.


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 bag, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries

There is heaps of small streams (17) that you cross along the way which can serve as water sources.

Can be exposed at times along the coast if winds are particularly strong. Some of the small streams may be dry in summer.

Be careful of stinging nettle present along the edges of the track. Mountain Bikers use the track from 1st of May to 30th of November so bone conducting headphones will be best to use if running during this period of time.

The Last Resort
Cafe & Bar

Vinnies Cafe

Karamea Four Square
Icecreams, Drinks & Supermarket Goods.

Trail Legend

Stewie Stuart

Stewie Stuart

has completed Heaphy Hut Out & Back once in the last year.

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