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The Heaphy Track

The Heaphy track is one of New Zealand’s most popular Great Walks and at 78.4kms, it is also the longest.

The track will take you on a unique journey through the most diverse landscapes, including the serenity of the Gouland Downs, where you may spot an endangered Takahe, the Enchanted Forest and dramatic limestone outcrops and caves. Lush forests and mountain views await, with fantastic flora including the stately Nikau palms and giant Northern rata. Remember also, to listen out for the Great Spotted Kiwi, the Roroa, as they call out to each other at night, or look for the nocturnal carnivorous powelliphanta snail, the largest in the world growing up to 95mm! Although now mainly used by trampers and mountain bikers, generations of Maori have used this trail to access pounamu on the Westcoast. The track was also once traversed by prospectors, hunters, geologists and stockmen.

The Heaphy track is in the North West corner of the South Island in the Kahurangi National Park, joining Golden Bay’s Aorere Valley with the wild rugged Westcoast at Kohaihai, North of Karamea.

The Heaphy Track is open year-round to trampers taking between 4-6 days to complete. The mountain bike season is 1 May-30 November each year, taking 2-3 days. E-bikes are not permitted on The Heaphy Track.

You can start or finish the track at the following locations – Brown Hut carpark , Golden Bay- 2 hours 45 minutes from Nelson or Kohaihai campsite, Westcoast – 5 hours from Nelson

There are six DOC huts and nine campsites along The Heaphy Track. These must be booked in advance all year round.

The Heaphy Track
The Heaphy Track Bikers. Photo: David Chadwick

The Old Ghost Road

The Old Ghost Road is truly an exhilarating experience for all the senses and is in the North West corner of the South Island.

The Southern end is at the Lyell historic reserve, a 2-hour drive from Nelson, and the Northern end is approximately 4kms inland from Seddonville at the Rough and Tumble bush lodge, one hour from Westport. At 85kms in length, it is the longest continuous single track in New Zealand through some of the most rugged, scenically stunning, wilderness. Built by The Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust, and completed in 2015, it traverses through native podocarp and beech forest, majestic alpine sections, in places reaching heights of almost 1300m above sea level, deep valleys and river-flats. Based on an original 1886 reconnaissance survey map for a proposed gold mining road, The Old Ghost Road is now described as a ‘gift to the universe’ for trampers and mountain bikers alike.

Four insulated communal huts across the track, provide rest, shelter and facilities with 2 summer sleepouts at each hut site and a designated tent area. There are also 2 pre-existing huts at Mokihinui Forks and Goat Creek with varying facilities. Advanced bookings are required for all main hut sites.

The track is considered a 4–5-day advanced tramping track, a 2-3 day advanced grade 4 mountain bike track, is open year round and can be started and completed in either direction. E-Bikes are permitted on the Old Ghost Road.

The Old Ghost Road - Photo: David Chadwick
Suicide Slips Bridge on The Old Ghost Road

Nelson Lakes National Park - St Arnaud

The extraordinarily beautiful Nelson Lakes National Park is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise!

Made up of 16 picturesque lakes, the choices of day walks, overnighters or multi-day tramps within the park are plentiful, as is the mountain biking at the local Teetotal recreation area.

Whether you are venturing deep into the alpine wilderness on the multi-day Travers-Sabine Circuit, walking part of the Te Araroa trail or traversing Robert Ridge to Angelus Hut, you will be treated to stunning views in every direction. Sir Edmund Hillary ventured here opening the 6 bunk Hopeless Creek Hut in 1967.

Glacial waters, seemingly endless Southward stacked mountains, spectacular panoramic views and undulating valleys are the drawcard that puts Nelson Lakes National Park firmly on the must do list.

Some huts such as Angelus and Bushline require booking at certain times throughout the year.

Nelson Lakes National Park and the alpine village of St Arnaud is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes from Nelson.

Nelson Lakes National Park
Lake Angelus

Abel Tasman Coastal Track

The Abel Tasman Coastal Track is located within the Abel Tasman National Park, the smallest of New Zealand’s national parks.

It is famous for its idyllic golden sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. Your adventure here will take you on a journey through beech forest with large kanuka trees and lush coastal forests, around rocky headlands and sculpted granite coastal formations.

Thanks to the privately funded project Janzoon Trust, predators and weeds have been reduced and native birds like robin and kakariki as well as plants like rata and mistletoe are flourishing again.

This great walk is 60kms one way between Marahau and Wainui and can be enjoyed in either direction. The more adventurous tramper can continue to the Abel Tasman Inland track and complete it as a loop, again starting and finishing at either end.

The Abel Tasman Coastal track is open all year round and bookings for the 4 huts and 18 campsites are essential. There is one compulsory tidal crossing at Awaroa Inlet. It is a family friendly walk and can be completed over 3-5 days. Marahau is approximately 1 hour 15 minutes from Nelson and Wainui is 2 hours 20 minutes from Nelson.

Abel Tasman Coastal Track
Abel Tasman Wainui - Scrambled Legs Shuttles

St James Walkway

The St James Walkway is located within the Lewis Pass scenic reserve and St James conservation area. It is a 66km well-marked, one way walk taking on average between 3-5 days to complete.

It is a relatively undemanding track suited to beginners and advanced trampers and as such is an ideal introduction to multi-day tramping. Starting at the carpark/picnic area near the Lewis Pass summit on SH7, this track offers diverse scenery, wildlife and vegetation. It will take you through sub-alpine areas with panoramic views of the Spencer Mountains, named after the poet Edmund Spencer, stretches of open farmland and tussock areas and the tranquil surroundings of beech forests with abundant birdlife such as Robins and Bellbirds. There are swing bridges and bridged river crossings along the way.

There are 5 serviced DOC huts along the 66km stretch and 2 basic bivvies. All of these huts operate on a first come-first serve basis and fill up quickly throughout the peak summer months, so it is always advisable to carry a tent as a backup.

The track ends at Boyle River village at the Boyle River Outdoors Education Center.

The start of St James Walkway is approximately 3 hours drive from Nelson and the end, at Boyle River Education Center, approximately 3.5 hours from Nelson.

St James Walkway
St James Walkway

Cobb Valley

Cobb Valley is a huge U-shaped glaciated valley located within the Kahurangi, New Zealand’s second largest national park.

There are 2 huts and a campsite near the head of the Cobb Reservoir, both of which operate on a first come-first serve basis. This is a great base from which to set off and explore. New Zealand’s oldest fossil, a 530 million year old Trilobite, was found in this area! Which ever way you turn and whatever track you decide to explore, you are greeted by impressive mountain and bush scenery.

Follow the Cobb Valley track, past historic huts such as Chaffey Hut, the Deer Cullers tent camp and Cobb Hut to Fenella Hut, named after 25year old Dr Fenella Druce, who died in 1977, as the result of a tragic accident in Mt Cook National Park.

A dip in the crystalline tarn, near Fenella Hut, is an experience not to be missed.

You can step back into a bygone era and visit the historic Asbestos Cottage. This pit-sawn timber cottage, built in 1897, once the home to the legendary asbestos miner Henry Chaffey and his beloved wife Annie. Some say that romance still lingers in this remote wilderness.

The Cobb Valley is an approximate 3 hour drive from Nelson. The last 30km past the Cobb River Power station to reach Cobb Valley, is a narrow, winding gravel road so there may be seasonal restrictions due to snow or slips.

Cobb Valley
Cobb Valley Walk, Kahurangi National Park



Haere mai ki Whakatū goodies

Enjoy our complimentary “Welcome to Nelson Goodies” giving you a taste of what is great about this beautiful region and celebrates some of our local businesses.

Transport of bikes for FREE

The transport of bikes will be free but terms and conditions will apply.

FREE Storage for small luggage

We offer free storage of a small holdall, no more than 5kg, on return journey bookings only.


We are very aware of the positive contribution we can make to small businesses by stopping for a pie and coffee or an ice-cream instead of shooting through.

We are also proud to support an amazing local charity – Cystic Fibrosis Nelson Marlborough.

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