This ancient Māori trail crosses over tussock downs to lush forests, through Nikau palms and onward to the roaring seas of the West Coast of the South Island.
Of all the Great Walks, the Heaphy Track delivers the strongest contrasts. Every section of the track is vastly different from the previous one. Choose to hike this track and you’ll get luxuriant rainforest; sub-alpine tussock grasslands; high, rugged mountains; and, finally, lowland forest and palm-fringed surf beaches. You’re in for 82 kilometres of hard walking, but the frequent scenery changes will certainly take your mind off sore feet.
The track is staged within the Kahurangi National Park, the second largest national park in the country and home to many Great Spotted Kiwi Birds. Even to a non-geologist, Kahurangi’s rocks are deeply interesting. Parts of the region are limestone or marble; these areas are characterised by an abundance of caves, bluffs, natural arches, sinkholes and water-worn outcrops. The park also contains the largest cave system in New Zealand.
The path followed by the Heaphy Track was first used by the native New Zealand people Māori pounamu or greenstone hunters travelling from Golden Bay to the pounamu (jade) rivers of Westland. Pounamu was highly valued for tools, weapons and ornaments.
And of course we here at Ariki New Zealand now value it for its natural beauty in our New Zealand Greenstone range.