An relatively easy great walk. – heaphy track, kahurangi national park traveller reviews – tripadvisor static electricity in the body

##############

I originally planned to hike the Abel Tazman, but after speaking with those that had hiked both the Heaphy and Tazman, all preferred the Heaphy due to less crowding and no water taxis. Although logistically problematic, the Heaphy diversifys through rain forest hills, along a river through magestic old growth Northern Rata trees, and along pristine coastline. I even got lucky and saw a Kiwi out at 10:30 am! I was rapping up a 5 week trekking visit and needed to get to the north island asap so I ended up catching a hopper flight from Westport to Wellington electricity games online free. If you have a vehicle I’d recommend just doing the Karamea side of that track to the hut across the river. Saves you the time and expense of transport back to Karamea. The rain forested hills are similar to many other new zealand great walks and have less waterfalls so were much less interesting to me than the coast and river sections. If you’re traveling by bus it is not an issue and if you have time combine both trekks. Be prepared for rain.

The Heaphy Track doesn’t have the dazzling alpine views of the Routeburn or Kepler or the sheet majestic beauty of the Milford or swimmable beaches of Abel Tasman, but it just may be our favorite Great Walk out of that list. Three main reasons: it’s long so you can easily spend 4 days hiking, you’re in a different ecosystem each day, and – even at the height of summer – you’re not hiking it with hundreds of other people. We really only saw about 40 people total each day, until the last day on the Karamea side. It’s a long track – 50 miles – and most trampers will need at least 4 days to complete it. We did it in the more common east to west direction (ending in Karamea). We dropped our car off in the Collingwood car park (about a 3 hr drive from Nelson) for Derry Kingston to relocate it. Beware – the car park (and pretty much every other hut/shelter) is teeming with sandflies. Picaridin was ineffective, as was a product with 25% DEET. Only the 90%+ DEET product seemed to deter the little vampires. Day 1 is about 11 miles through lovely beech forest. It’s a steady but very gradual, easy climb not really requiring trekking poles. We hiked it in just about 4.5 hours and stayed at the Perry Saddle Hut that night. The Perry Saddle hut has 24 bunks across three bunk rooms; it also has great views but only pit toilets, which are down a short path from the hut itself. Day 2 was the long, long day – about 16 miles total – but provided beautiful, sweeping views. We passed the Goulding Downs and Saxon Huts; both are very small with cramped bunks. I’d pass on them if you think you can make it to the Mackay Hut. The terrain was pretty good – a few ups and downs and then a very long climb at the end (not accurately depicted in the DOC booklet!). We made it to the Mackay Hut in just under 6 hours. The Mackay hut is much nicer than the Perry Saddle one (one reason to hike east to west) with even better views of the mountains/hills/mouth of the Heaphy River (where the Heaphy Hut is located), flush toilets, and a bigger kitchen/common space area. There were a ton of sandflies here but not gas prices in texas many in the hut. An important note: the huts (at least the ones that we stayed at) each had some gas chamber jokes communal cooking equipment. We had brought freeze-dried food and could have left all of our pots and pans behind b/c the huts all had tea kettles and at least a few pots (and burners, no need to bring a stove unless you’re camping). Do bring matches, though. Day 3 was lovely – and relatively easy. We hiked about 13 miles to the Heaphy Hut. The first part is a very gradual decline through beautiful forest. I had been expecting a knee-killing descent but it was very easy and on a gorgeously smooth path. We stopped for a rest at the Lewis Hut (millions of sandflies here!) and then crossed over a stunning swing bridge spanning the Heaphy River. At that point we entered an exquisite tropical paradise – lush palm trees, ferns, etc – and hiked through that to the Heaphy Hut, making it there in under 5 hours. The Heaphy Hut is, by far, the best. It sits up on a small hill with a wide green lawn stretching down to the Heaphy River. The view of the Heaphy River and, beyond to the Tasman Sea, is superb. You can clean up in the river (the beach, which is further up the trail, is too dangerous for swimming). The common area/kitchen is large and bright. There are four comfy bunk rooms and two flush toilets just outside the common area. There are dozens of weka (birds, sort of like hens) running around the grounds. Apparently there are a bunch of kiwi there too that come out at night, though we didn’t see any. The sunrise over the Tasman Sea was spectacular. The final day was the easiest and prettiest part of the trek – about 10 miles of gentle ups and downs through lush tropical forest skirting white sand beaches. It felt like we were in Kauai, just with a slightly colder climate. This day had shorter mileage but we opted to take more breaks and enjoy the views. We finished up in about 4.5 hours. Note: you can get cell coverage from parts of the trail near the Heaphy Beach (about 10-20 minutes west of the Heaphy Hut) but nowhere else on the trail. Then again, it’s nice to be disconnected entirely for a few days. The Karamea car park is huge and lovely compared to the Collingswood one. It’s a popular place for day hikers. We picked up our car there and headed into Karamea. Overall, I’d definitely recommend this track, especially during high season when others may be a bit overcrowded.

We chose to fly over from Wellington with Golden Bay Air to Takaka and then got a shuttle bus to Brown Hut where we arrived at about 7.30pm… as planned. We stayed here overnight, all on our electricity trading hedge funds own (peace and quiet) and sat in front of a roaring log fire dining on our dip, crackers, cheese and our asparagus quiche … great way to begin our adventure. This is the only hut that does not have any gas cookers but we had bought our own with us. This walk can be completed comfortably over 4 days/3 nights in the Department of Conservation huts along the way but Mum, who is 81 years old, and I decided on a slower pace and chose 5 days and 4 nights. Day one from Brown Hut is a steady but easy climb over 17.5 km to Perry Saddle Hut. We stopped 2/3 of the way up at the Aorere Shelter for lunch with great views back out over Golden Bay in the far distance. Brown Hut was a lovely modern hut, well looked after and fabulous views in both directions over the surrounding hills. Day gas questions two was a leisurely walk approx 12.5 km to Saxon Hut so we were able to sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. We wandered through tussock clearings and patches of beech. We stopped to take photos at the Boot Pole just before Gouland Downs Hut. A pole just covered in footwear from hiking boots, sandals, ballerina pumps to stilettos. Day 2 was still hot and humid although it started to spit as we arrived at our hut. This was a smaller hut but still clean and comfortable. It slept 16 but there were only 6 of us there so very cosy. Day three was another short day so again we lay in, ate leisurely and wandered off around 10am. Another walk across the open Gouland Downs, tussock and bush, and up to Mackay Hut. It did start to rain but we put our pack covers on and stayed in our t-shirts as it was still very warm. We arrived at Mackay Hut just as it began to bucket down… for the next 8 hours!!! We watched as another 14 people arrived absolutely saturated. The views from this gorgeous modern hut were to die for looking way down the valley to the inlet on the coast where the Heaphy Hut sits. Must mention the Ranger here Richard who was absolutely wonderful and so very passionate about his role… great job. Day four was 20.5km downhill all the way through the most delightful natural bush, nikau palms, beech forrests and following a river out to the coast and the Heaphy Hut…. absolutely gorgeous walk. Stopped at the Lewis Hut on the river but attached by those pesky sandflies, so moved on quickly. Weather again hot and humid… still in T-shirts… but smothered in repellant!!!! Heaphy Hut was rebuilt only a couple years ago so is just lovely, perched up overlooking the electricity towers health risks mouth of the river. We went for a walk along the beack, so much to see and do, took a dip in the river…but only got to our knees as so cold. Richard again joined us there. Lots of people tonight from so many countries… about 20 odd coming and going in both directions. Day five was the stunning end to our magnifiecent walk, following the stunning West Coast shoreline with its raging ocean and delightful scenery, 16.5 km out to Kohaihai Shelter where we were picked up by a shuttle bus and delivered to the Karamea Airport for our flight back across the Heaphy Track and all the huts we had stayed in over our 5 days…. just a 35 minute flight to Takaka….AMAZING!! Apart from the first hut which not many people sleep over in, they all have gas cooking facilities. The huts are clean, bunks are reasonably comfortable with a mattress, fireplaces are lovely on a chilly evening, running water and clean toilets. DOC rangers do a great job of ensuring the huts are clean and tidy. We were blessed to walk in t-Shirts the entire time and just pop on a jumper at night, although we of course had our full rain gear, jacket and leggings with us. Most importantly take tropical strength insect repellent… an absolute must as well as a topical antihistamine. The sand flies are VORACIOUS and the bites viciously itchy. Another Bucket List item ticked off….. ENJOY!!!!