Introduction

Find out Heaphy Track highlights, walking options, places to stay, fees and bookings, getting there, what to take, and know before you go.

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Popular walking options

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.

Places to stay

There are 7 huts and 9 campsites, which must be booked well in advance all year round. 

Hut facilities

Huts have:

  • bunks
  • mattresses
  • heating
  • toilets
  • basic cooking facilities
  • solar-powered lighting, and
  • cold running water.

A DOC ranger may be present. Huts do not have food, cooking utensils, showers or bedding.

Campsite facilities

Campsites have basic facilities including toilets, sinks and a water supply. Some also have picnic tables and cooking shelters. Campers cannot use hut facilities.

Fees and bookings

Fees are charged per person, per night to stay in huts and campsites on the Heaphy Track. There are no fees to complete a day walk on the track or for entry into the Kahurangi National Park.

Hut fees

In the Great Walks season (1 October – 30 April)

New Zealand citizens and those ordinarily resident in New Zealand*:

  • Adult (18+ years): $37 per person, per night
  • Child (17 years and under): free but booking still required

International visitors:

  • Adult (18+ years): $56 per person, per night
  • Child (17 years and under): $28 per person, per night

Proof of eligibility is required for the New Zealand rate.

1 May – 30 June and September

For all visitors:

  • Adult (18+ years): $32 per person, per night
  • Child (17 years and under): free
1 July – 31 August

For all visitors:

  • Adult (18+ years): $26 per person, per night
  • Child (17 years and under): free

Campsite fees

In the Great Walks season (1 October – 30 April)

New Zealand citizens and those ordinarily resident in New Zealand*:

  • Adult (18+ years): $16 per person, per night
  • Child (17 years and under): free but booking still required

International visitors:

  • Adult (18+ years): $24 per person, per night
  • Child (17 years and under): $12 per person, per night

Proof of eligibility is required for the New Zealand rate.

1 May – 30 September

For all visitors:

  • Adult (18+ years): $16 per person, per night
  • Child (17 years and under): free

Discounts

Discounts for Great Walks are not available online. If you belong to a group or organisation that is entitled to a discount we will need to see proof of your membership.

To receive your discount, you must email your organisation's membership card, showing your name, membership number and expiry date, to bookings@doc.govt.nz or go to a DOC visitor centre in person. Visitor centre staff will make your booking for you and apply your discount. No booking fee will be charged.

If you make your booking online yourself, you must contact bookings@doc.govt.nz or a DOC visitor centre within 48 hours of making the booking to receive your discount. Discounts cannot be retrospectively applied to bookings after this time.

Bookings

All huts and campsites on Heaphy Track must be booked in advance all year round.

Book the Heaphy Track online.

Bookings open. Campsites: Good availability | Huts: Availability in October/November and from March 2022

Getting there

The Heaphy Track is not a circuit track.

You can start the track either from:

  • Brown Hut in Golden Bay – 156 km from Nelson – at the end of Aorere Valley Rd, or
  • Kohaihai on the West Coast – 110 km from Westport – at the end of Kohaihai Rd.

Air access

Air services make it possible to walk the track one way and return by air to near your starting point.

Air New Zealand flies into Nelson, the closest regional airport to the Brown Hut, and Sounds Air flies into Westport, the closest regional airport to Kohaihai.

A number of local operators provide air transport into Takaka in Golden Bay and Karamea on the West Coast.

Road access

Brown Hut is 156 km and a 2 hr 25 min drive from Nelson. To reach this eastern end of the track:

  • take SH 60 from Nelson to Collingwood (128 km)
  • at Collingwood take the road up the Aorere Valley to Brown Hut (28 km).

Kohaihai is 110 km and a 1 hr 45 min drive from Westport. To reach this western track end:

  • take SH 67 from Westport to Karamea (95 km)
  • at Karamea head north to the car park and campsite at the Kohaihai River (15 km).

Track transport

Bus and taxi services are available to reach either end of the track from nearby towns. Regular bus services link Nelson and Westport. Vehicle relocation services are also available. 

There is a telephone at Brown Hut – local calls for transport are free. There is also mobile coverage at Kohaihai Campsite.

Some transport businesses may not operate in winter

Transport, activity, equipment and accommodation businesses operate in the summer. Some businesses do not operate in winter. Check with the operator.

What to take

Have a safe and enjoyable trip by making sure you have the right equipment and clothing.

What to take.

Know before you go

Stay safe in the outdoors and follow the five essential steps of the Land Safety Code

Weather

Weather on the Heaphy Track changes quickly and annual rainfall averages over 4,000 mm. It rains heavily with little warning and even small streams are dangerous in a flood.

Check the forecast and expect weather changes. Kahurangi National park weather forecast – NIWA website.

Be prepared for rain, snow and wind, especially on the exposed sections of the track.

Bad weather can damage the track during winter. These areas will be marked by signs and warning tape. You should check with the Nelson DOC Visitor Centre before your walk.

Flooding and tides

There are sometimes large floods in the Heaphy valley, between Lewis Hut and Heaphy Hut. It's not safe to proceed when the track is flooded – you should wait in either Lewis Hut or Heaphy Hut. 

Average temps

Table showing average temperatures on Heaphy Track.

Check tide charts

Large waves can wash over parts of the coastal track when the tide is high and the sea is rough. This can mean the track is not safe to walk. When planning your trip, check tide charts and allow extra time in case you are delayed.

Check tide timetables.

Giardia

There is a small risk of giardia in water – treat your water before you use it.

Mobile phone coverage

Generally, mobile phone coverage is poor and unreliable. Coverage is usually available at Aorere Shelter, on the beach near the Heaphy River mouth and along the coast track between the Heaphy Hut and Kohaihai Scotts Beach, coverage is usually available, although this depends on which telephone company you use.

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