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Part F - Heaphy Track

Heaphy Track
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November 2015


Kahurangi Nat. Park

New Zealand



0 - 1238m ASL


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THE HEAPHY TRACK is named after a very well known soldier and early explorer of New Zealand. He now lies buried in a well preserved military grave in amongst an endless sea of crumbling tombstones covering the steep hills of the Toowong Cemetery near where I live in Brisbane. The plaque of his grave states he served New Zealand in peace and war as an artist, explorer and Member of Parliament, and was the first non-regular soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross. Who was Charles Heaphy? Why was he so significant that a river and one of New Zealand’s most well known hiking trails was named after him?

The trek begins at Kowhaiwhai at the northernmost end of the rugged West Coast Road. From there it continues along the wildly spectacular coast until reaching the Heaphy Hut at the mouth of the Heaphy River where I stay the first night. The second day starts with a diversion to some local caves before I head upstream to the Lewis Hut. The third day immediately starts with an ascent along a ridge out of the valley to the start of the Gouland Downs plateau, where I stay at the James Mackay Hut. The fourth day traverses the wide open Gouland Downs eventually reaching the historic Gouland Downs Hut from where I explore the nearby Enchanted Forest. The fifth day involves an ascent to the lofty Perry Saddle, and a side trip up to the rocky summit of Mount Perry. The final day is a long downhill into the Aorere Valley to Brown Hut, 81 kilometres from where I started at Kowhaiwhai, ending New Zealand's longest and most varied great walk.


Day 1 - Karamea to Heaphy Hut


Day 2 - Heaphy to Lewis


Day 3 - Lewis to James Mackay


Day 4 - James Mackay to Gouland Downs


Day 5 - Gouland Downs to Perry Saddle


Day 6 - Perry Saddle to Brown


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