Heaphy Track – November 2015

Day 1. No one showed up at Platform 9 Wellington train station.
Richard, Matt, Joe, Emily and David were off on a Heaphy track adventure, pack weigh in was at Wellington airport.
A short flight into Nelson, and a three hour drive later we arrive at Brown Hut. It’s raining. Were close to the West Coast. Uphill today – all uphill on a gentle slope. There might be a view – but no one can see it today.

BrownRiver HeaphyTracViews

Evening falls as we soggily enter Perry Saddle Hut. A Busy Hut with a guided gourmet tramp party dominating the cooking area. Travelers from the USA and people sitting down to wait for their gourmet cooking dinners – all included in their hefty trip fee.
Still we had our club recipe meal – as usual delicious and satisfying after walking in the rain.

PerryHutCooking PerrySaddleHutGroup


Day 2. Gorgeous beech forests – a rain forest of greens and moisture and plants growing on plants over limestone outcroppings and caves. More epiphytes concentrated in growing space than I have ever seen before. The gutters by the track have water mosses in them thick and moist.

  IMG_2806 CaveBrook

Everywhere there is plentiful evidence that we are in a temperature rain forest, and a delightful place to be indeed.
Then things open up with the tussocklands of the Gouland Downs – boardwalks and wetlands impressive but I miss the abundance of life the rainforest held.

  IMG_2790 SaxonHut
We get to James Mackay Hut and the sun starts shining and we see the Heaphy River Mouth and the Tasman Sea sparkling off the West coast. Half way through – food is holding out well. Tramping is easy just long – about 20ks a day. Blisters are appearing and conversation is turning to boots socks and feet.

 JamesMackayHutTea JamesMackayHutGroup

HeaphyRiverMouth HeaphySuspensionBridge

Day 3. Downhill – much like the uphill long but no tree roots to trip over and hardly any mud. Track surface here is crushed pink granite, and we see huge round grey granite boulders of the track. A good snack spot. As we get lower we enter the coastal bush – Nikau Palms are profuse.
Lunch on the Heaphy river bank – lying in the sun watching clouds go by. Pretty blissful.
Get to Heaphy Hut as afternoon sun bathes the long lawn down to the beach. Jackets to ward off the wind but the sun was warm and food and companionship made it a perfect way to finish day 3.

HeaphyRiverBeach IMG_2863

Day 4. Coastal track and beach walk – sea land and sky photo ops galore. Nikau palms towering above us and sand beneath our boots. We reach the end and gulp down lunch and plunge into the Heaphy River to wash before the long drive and short flight back to Wellington.

NikauPalms Trees

CoastTrack2 IMG_2884

CoastTrack1 KohaihaiCampsite

GPS Stats

Day 1
From Brown Hut to Perry Saddle Hut
Start time: 13:50
End time: 18:55
Distance: 17.1km
Climb: 1490m
Descent: 733m

Day 2
From Perry Saddle Hut to James Mackay Hut
Start time: 08:20
End time: 16:15
Distance: 23.6km
Climb: 1000m
Descent: 1180m

Day 3
From James Mackay Hut to Heaphy Hut
Start time: 08:30
End time: 15:15
Distance: 19.5km
Climb: 790m
Descent: 1440m

Day 4
From Heaphy Hut to Kohaihai
Start time: 07:20
End time: 12:40
Distance: 16.4km
Climb: 870m
Descent: 880m

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