We begin with a two-hour scenic drive from your accommodation in Motueka to the start of the track in the Aorere Valley in Golden Bay. The road takes us over the renowned Takaka Hill, also known as 'Marble Mountain' for it's huge outcrops of limestone marble rock. The track commences at Brown River and climbs on a well graded track through lowland then podocarp-beech forest.
A chance for the fitter walker to climb Mount Perry first thing in the morning for the spectacular views into the Aorere Valley, across the Gouland Downs and out to Tasman Bay (on a clear day Mount Taranaki in the North Island can be seen).
In the morning we leave the Gouland Downs, and gently wind our way up and over to the edge of the Mackay Downs, then onto the Mackay Hut for our lunch break. Here we have glimpses of the Tasman Sea and tomorrow's destination at the Heaphy mouth.We descend to the Heaphy valley floor. The track winds gradually down through ever changing forest with new species being added constantly, until the first nikau palm appears and the forest takes on a jungle like appearance. The Lewis Hut is situated on the confluence of the Heaphy and Lewis Rivers.
From Lewis Hut, the Heaphy River approaches the West Coast of New Zealand. Only an 8 km - 2 1/2 hours walking. But a longer time may be taken as there is so much to see. After crossing the Heaphy swing bridge, the mixed lowland rain forest flora and the limestone outcrops cannot be rushed. There is little of this forest type left in New Zealand. We follow the river all the way to the mouth, arriving at Heaphy Hut.
For the entire day the track hugs the coast and goes in and out of nikau and karaka groves beside pounding surf beaches. We stop for a picnic lunch en route to our finish at Kohaihai. There is magnificent scenery all the way (16 km., 5 - 6 hours).
Return to Motueka or Nelson. On the morning of day 6 we will leave Karamea in our own transport at approx. 9 to 10:00am for the 5 1/2 hour scenic drive to Motueka or Nelson. This route will take you down the Northern West Coast to Westport, then through the picturesque Buller Gorge. We will be stopping en route at Murchison for a light lunch, supplied by Bush and Beyond. Arrival time in Nelson will be approx. 3 to 3:30pm, so it is advisable not to book a flight out of Nelson until after 4:30pm in the event of unforeseen circumstances delaying our return.
Any excess luggage left behind in Motueka whilst you are on the track, will be awaiting you at the Karamea Hotel, where we finish the walk.