Heaphy Track is a classic tramping or hiking trip from the beech forests in the east to the nikau-fringed beaches on the West Coast, New Zealand, a historic and scenic highway with a rich diversity of plants and the sweeping red and gold expanse of the Gouland Downs. There are a plethora of huts, and the walking track is generally of a high grade. The distance can deceive, and you should allow five days as a comfortable minimum. With four days you can enjoy at least one long day somewhere. Virtually every creek that could possibly prove troublesome has been bridged, but these bridges can get washed out and it’s sobering to think that there have been several deaths in the past on this track. Sandflies and mosquitos on the West Coast, New Zealand can be vicious, but the glorious sunsets are a fair compensation.

The Heaphy Track is well formed and well marked. All major stream and river crossings are bridged. You can start the track either from Brown Hut in Golden Bay (156 km from Nelson) or from Kohaihai on the West Coast (110 km from Westport). It’s not a circuit track and is described here from Golden Bay to Kohaihai.

Popular walking options ( Golden Bay to Kohaihai Shelter)

For a 4 day, 3 night trip, most walkers stay at Perry Saddle, James Mackay and Heaphy Huts.

For a 5 day, 4 night trip, most walkers stay at Perry Saddle, Saxon, James Mackay and Heaphy Huts.

A popular 2 day, 1 night trip on the western side is from Kohaihai to Heaphy Hut, returning to Kohaihai.