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Heaphy West to East, West Coast

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Heaphy West to EastExperienced

Submitted by Paul Wieland

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Trail Information





West Coast


Back country - remote

Point to Point (one way)

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands


16:00 (Slow)
12:00 (Moderate)
8:00 (Fast)



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.

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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!

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Features of interest

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!

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%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

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  • Access

    Starting from the west coast, the start is at the carpark at road end, 20k N of Karamea. This is the Kohaihai Shelter & Campsite.

    For shuttles check out http://theheaphybus.co.nz.
    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



  • Staying Safe


    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)

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See other runs nearby:

Wangapeka via Biggs Tops

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