Walk the southern coastline of Fiordland
A labour of love for the residents of Tuatapere, the Hump Ridge Track has opened up a stunning area of sub-alpine and coastal landscapes in the south-west of the South Island. The track is a private walk operated by a charitable trust, and is a unique partnership between the Tuatapere community and the Department of Conservation (DOC).
The Hump Ridge Track is a 3-day, 61-kilometre (38-mile) loop track. The track provides access to the spectacular southern coastline where hikers experience forests, dramatic alpine tops, historic viaducts (bridges) and the chance to walk through an area of remote beauty.
A highlight of the hike is a loop track at the top of the Hump Ridge range which winds around limestone tors and offers panoramic views of south-west Fiordland, the Southern Ocean and Stewart Island.
The Hump Ridge Track offers hikers a variety of ways to enjoy the experience, including an “upgrade option” for independent walkers. It is possible to walk the Hump Ridge Track independently, as part of a guided tour or to add-on helicopter or jet boat transfers.
HOW TO WALK THE HUMP RIDGE TRACK
The Hump Ridge Track starts from the Rarakau car park, Bluecliffs Beach in Te Waewae Bay. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to drive from Te Anau to the start of the track.
The Hump Ridge Track can be tackled in a variety of ways and is suitable for independent hikers as well as those looking to hike with a guide and a group. The track is unique in that it offers independent walkers the chance to upgrade to lodge accommodation. The two backcountry lodges are in superb locations, each offering a unique stopping point along the walk.
At almost 1,000 metres (3,280 feet) above sea level, Okaka Lodge is the highest point on the track. And Port Craig Lodge, at sea level, offers trampers the chance to take a dip in the Southern Ocean and possibly see the rare Hector’s dolphins.
The Hump Ridge Track also offers a heli-hike option where walkers can take a helicopter flight to Okaka Lodge before starting the sub-alpine Loop Track. Heli-pack options are also available where the helicopter does the heavy lifting by transporting your pack to the high point.
Find out more about Hump Ridge Track transport here.
IMPORTANT HUMP RIDGE TRACK INFORMATION
A moderate to high level of fitness is required to complete this walk. The hike requires long walking days, and some sections are steep and rugged. The comfortable lodges are a welcome respite at the end of each day.
The Tuatapere Hump Track Charitable Trust manages the track and private lodges. Advance booking and payment are essential for use of the track and lodges.
Independent walkers need to arrange their food and gear, as well as booking a boat transfer at the beginning and end of the track. As the finishing point is in a different location to the start point, independent walkers need to make transfer arrangements to get back to their original starting point. Find out more about Hump Ridge Track transport here.
It is recommended you contact the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre before you walk the track, always check weather conditions and ensure you are prepared for extreme conditions.
Find out more about hiking the Hump Ridge Track here.