NZ Great Walks – Heaphy Track
Although the English-born explorer Charles Heaphy never personally walked the full track, it’s his last name which is now, 170 years after his initial West Coast adventure, eponymous for one of New Zealand’s most iconic tramping experiences. In fact, the Heaphy Track could easily be seen as a pristine 4-days-long ‘sample’ of what the New Zealand outdoors stand for. The face of the rugged landscape transitions into a set of completely diverse yet equally stunning stages as trampers make their way 80km into and along the South Island’s West Coast. From walking along eye-sweeping tussock lands to making your way up and around rugged cliffs overlooking untouched white-sand dreams and striding into opulent rainforests, I wouldn’t be surprised if you suddenly felt the urgent need to step into Sir David Attenborough’s footsteps and narrate your very own nature documentary.
Despite its spectacular and unique backcountry promise, bear in mind that this is not only the longest out of the 9 Great Walks, but the Heaphy Track is – even for New Zealand standards – very remote and heavily exposed to rapid weather changes. Huts and campsites are impeccable and, while you’ll be able to surround yourself with complete serenity during your walk, like-minded wanderers will share their travel stories over a good old card game once you put your feet up for the day.
Ultimately, nothings beats spending a few days in the wilderness. Putting things into perspective and living in the moment has never been easier when listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest or the crashing waves of the ocean. Embrace every moment of it. Stop along the way to take in the infinite views. And always remember, the only way is forward.
Happy Tramping! x