Last Updated: 15th Apr 2024


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I've done it Done

Heaphy West to East

Karamea, West Coast

Submitted by Paul Wieland

Last Updated: 15th Apr 2024


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 89 ?

Gnarl Factor: 22 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Point to Point (one way)

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush



Open tussock/grasslands

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +7.5%

Average Downhill Gradient: -8.5%


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Estimated Times to Run







Best to be done if you want to tramp the Heaphy in a group and you want to be the car deliverer to the end your group tramps to. Well signposted, track mainly easy but rough in places, coastal and boggy parts can get flooded after big rains, prone to mist / fog through the mountain section between Mackay and Perry Saddle 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 6 - 13k apart, but overnight stays need to be booked with DOC (as per Great Walk). Best to run the track, have a day's rest at the other end and tramp back with your group. A life changing experience seeing the track both ways! Don't forget your rain gear, this is the West Coast!

Great variety makes things interesting: Coastal rain forest, river valley, subalpine rain forest, subalpine bogs and tussock, limestone caves, wekas, kiwi & morepork at night, enough edible plantain on the way (mostly along the coast) to sustain yourself if you get stuck. Ongaonga (native stinging nettle) along the coast - be aware!

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Be aware: by car from end to end is a 450k drive! You need to arrange transport ahead of time. There are landline phones at the car parks at both ends of the track.

16 km

19 minutes




Follow the signposts and stay on the main track. Several detours along the way, but main track unmistakeable since it is the only levelled one. Reaching Brown Hut in the dark: Just carry on straight ahead to the car park. If you went more than 300 metres then retrace your steps back to the hut, look at the sign post pointing to Perry Saddle, turn 180 degrees and follow your nose for 300 metres. The car park is quite dark at night since it is in dense bush

Very patchy.

Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, 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

Streams are everywhere, water is drinkable, no Giardia in the park (yet). Otherwise, every hut has a rainwater tank or filtered water. Huts are 6 to 16 km apart

Parts of the track (mainly along Heaphy River and in the boggy uplands) can be flooded after heavy rain; track from Heaphy to Lewis Hut along the Heaphy river can be impassable when flooded, check in Heaphy Hut (heading east) or Lewis Hut (heading west)

Trail Legend

Mark Hebberd

Mark Hebberd

has completed Heaphy West to East once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

The most stunning and incredible walk. We did it the old fashioned way over 5 days with kids in Dec 2019, but all the time I was thinking, dang this would make an incredible RUN! The track is well groomed and the gradient on the uphills is not steep. Can be cold up on the Douland Tops even in summer so be prepared.

Jayne Tankersley

January 26, 2020

We did this over one night in Saxon Hut. Left a car on the coast and flew to the start :) Mostly easy single track. Highlight was definitely seeing the Takahe foraging away on the trail :)

Miriam Bartlett

January 7, 2020

Beautiful trail, easy running on a generally nice surface. We did this over two days with a night in the James McKay hut, returning to nelson via the ghost road over two days (with a bus at either end).

Paul Churton

August 17, 2018

One of the best Great Walks!

Geoff Neal

April 9, 2017

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