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Hump Ridge Track Guided Walk

Panorama from the summit of the Hump Ridge Track

The Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track is a unique partnership between the Tuatapere community and the Department of Conservation, it's a private walk operated by a Charitable Trust, and for this reason it is not currently included in any of our adventure itineraries. Don't sweat it though, there are over 500 incredible hiking trails down here in New Zealand, so you're spoilt for choice.

The Hump Ridge track is a 3 day loop trail at the very bottom of the New Zealand. This track takes you over 33miles (53km); from sea level up to the sub-alpine area of the Hump Ridge, and then over historic viaducts and past ancient villages in the midst of native beech forests, and returns to the start along the south coast beaches of Fiordland National Park. This track is New Zealand’s newest guided walk (until the new Pike29 memorial track opens on the South Island's West Coast) so you don’t have to carry a heavy backpack, just your clothes for the day and your lunch, as everything else is taken by helicopter from lodge to lodge for you. The lodges are new too, with all linen, hot showers, and meals provided. Summer is the perfect time to hike the Hump Ridge track, as Southland has the longest daylight hours in New Zealand.

History

Port Craig was once a major port for the South Coast. A small logging town that started in 1916 it boomed to over 200 hardy bushmen and their families in it’s prime. The Marlborough Timber Company planned to log one of the last significant coastal forests here, so they built a large sawmill and an extensive tramway system, along with a town and port facilities, however this was all shut down in 1929 in the face of a looming depression. Now, you can follow the Heritage trail around this once prosperous township and feel the sense of Port Craig as it once was.

Trains and viaducts
Percy Burn Viaduct is the largest surviving wooden viaduct in the world. A former logging tramway the viaduct was built in 1923 to allow logs to be carried using steam engines from Waitutu Forest through to Port Craig for milling. The Percy Burn stream cuts a deep gorge beneath the viaduct, which is 36 metres high and 125 metres (410 feet) long. Unfortunately, the timber here was not of high quality and proved costly to log, so together with falling timber prices the Port Craig operation was abandoned. As the viaduct was considered to be a magnificent feat of engineering, it was restored in the 1990s and included as part of the new Hump Ridge walking track.

Fred and Myrtle
Legend has it that Fred and Myrtle met when they were living in Port Craig, a remote port town on New Zealand's south coast. Fred and Myrtle were both working for the Port Craig Timber Company when they got married and went away for a short honeymoon to celebrate. Upon their return home they discovered that their town had packed up and ceased to be overnight (literally) and they now had no jobs, no friends and no livelihood - eek! Fred and Myrtle Flutey decided to move to Bluff, where Fred collected Paua (Abalone) shells for a hobby and polished them, so Myrtle decided to hang these on the walls of her house. Fred and Myrtle hosted an open home every day for 37 years, and until year 2000 more than a million visitors from all over the world came to Bluff to see the Paua House.

Hector's Dolphins
One of the smallest marine dolphins in the world, Hector's dolphins grow to no more than 1.5 metres in length. Only found in New Zealand's waters, this is the most easily recognised dolphin in New Zealand as being a distinctive grey colour with black and white markings and a round dorsal fin. Named after Sir James Hector who was the curator of the Colonial Museum in Wellington, now Museum of New Zealand & also known as Te Papa. 

Track info

A pre-departure briefing starts 5.30pm the evening prior at the track office with drinks and nibbles. A track guide explains the details of the track, and arrange storage for any surplus luggage.

Day 1: After breakfast at your hotel in Tuatapere you’ll take a short helicopter ride over Te Waewae Bay to the start of the walk. You will then wander along boardwalks through the dense forest and then hike up the Hump Ridge to the top. When you arrive at Okaka Lodge you’ll have spectacular views in every direction – of Lakes Poteriteri and Hauroko, and the many mountain ranges of Fiordland National Park . If you still have energy then a detour to the summit rocks, tors and tarns a bit further on is a definite must (or you can pop out before breakfast tomorrow morning instead).

Day 2: After breakfast you wander down the Hump Ridge all the way to the sea – pausing a while at every viewpoint to make out Solander Island further south, and Stewart Island just behind that. After lunch at the track junction you’ll walk along the old tram line and over the mighty wooden viaducts to the historic Port Craig village. Once you’ve arrived to your lodgings at Port Craig, meander down the side track to the beach and check out the Hector’s dolphins that live at the old wharf poles in the surf.

Day 3:For this last day you will first walk out along coastal forest trails, then along beautiful beaches (if the tide is right, otherwise we’ll stick to the inland track!) to the point that we started at a few days ago, and then back in to Tuatapere for a celebration of our 3 day journey.

What you need to bring for your Hump Ridge Guided Walk

At the pre-departure briefing in Tuatapere there are day packs, hiking poles, gaiters and raincoats available for your use if you require, or you can bring your own.

A special feature of the Hump Ridge Guided Walk is the provision of the daily helicopter flights to transport your luggage. You will need a large pack or sports bag for this (soft bags, not hard suitcases as these do not transport well in helicopters), however there is a maximum weight of 15kg per person. Excess luggage may be left in the office while you're away.

Essential items you will need to bring with you: 

  • Day pack with waterproof liner and cover 
  • Good waterproof raincoat with hood
  • Boots or strong walking shoes, preferably with ankle support
  • Woollen (merino) or polypropylene thermal underwear (top & bottom) – at least two sets.
  • Polar fleece jacket or top
  • T shirt for fine weather
  • Warm hat – fleece or woollen
  • Gloves
  • Pair of shorts and trousers
  • Woollen or thermal socks – three pairs
  • Underwear
  • Pair of light shoes or sandals
  • Change of clothing for the evening
  • Sunscreen
  • Blister pack and or foot fleece
  • Small personal torch
  • Personal medicine, toilet bag
  • Camera
  • Water bottle

Optional items you may want to include:

  • Sun hat
  • Swimsuit
  • Spare laces
  • Journal
  • Walking poles
  • Money for additional drinks*

We do not recommend that you walk in cotton garments, jeans or silk thermals. Perspiration means you are likely to feel damp and cold inside the best raincoat. We recommend you place all your clothing inside your pack liner for added rain protection. Keep your pack as light as possible while still taking the essentials.

Each day you will carry your day pack with packed lunch and personal items that you may require throughout the day, eg water, camera, hats, warm layer, medications, etc.

* 3-course evening meals and New Zealand wine is provided each evening, as well as breakfast and picnic lunches (which you carry). There are additional NZ wines and beverages available for sale at both lodges.

Fitness Level

A moderate to high level of fitness is required to complete this walk. The first day of the walk you climb over 800 metres, so staircase or hill climbing is strongly recommended as part of your pre trip walking regime, and wearing hiking boots which provide firm ankle support when hiking over rough terrain of rocks and tree roots. If you are not a regular walker we suggest you begin a daily walking regime 6-8 weeks prior to departure, gradually increasing the distance you walk, carrying a backpack.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    Amazing Tui Trip

    We had an amazing time in New Zealand and enjoyed our Tui trip of the South Island! It was an excellent way to travel and see so many different places in one trip. Our guides, Eve and Katie, were great! They were extremely knowledgeable and very attentive to our needs, and always made sure we were well fed. We would definitely recommend the Tui trip to anyone traveling to New Zealand!
    Dana Pasini Review Image
    – Pennsylvania, United States
    Tui, November 2017
  •   4.70 out of 5 (from 266 reviews)

    Great Guides, Beautiful Countryside

    The trip was an exciting experience of New Zealand. The guides took very good care of us and helped with any of our needs and wishes. I am so pleased with the trip and would recommend it to anyone who wants to see beautiful scenery and take an active part in enjoying it. I would and may do it again .
    David Zabielski Review Image
    – New York, United States
    Kiwi, February 2018
  •   4.70 out of 5 (from 266 reviews)

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Exceeded my Expectations. A Trip to Treasure.

    Active adventures provided an outstanding New Zealand experience. Our guides (Tory and Jordie) went above and beyond during our South Island Rimu trip. Their passion for the outdoors as well as the traditions and culture of NZ enhanced the two week journey. As guides, I was most impressed by their attention to detail and safety. I appreciated the warm smiles, gems of knowledge and yummy meals on even the challenging hike days. For my birthday, during the three day hike at Nelson Lakes National Park, Tory and Jordie surprised me with two delicious cakes to share with my new hiking family. A moment I will treasure, enhanced by the breath taking views of the alpine lake at Angelus Hut.

    The beauty of the country surpassed my expectations, particularly sites like Milford Sound and Mt. Cook. Such a diverse, lush landscape, each hike offered a unique perspective of the stunning views. Combined with the kayaking and biking options, allowed for an exciting and interesting mix. The highlight of my two weeks was my heli-hike on the Tasman Glacier, such an unforgettable experience.

    I'm looking forward to future Active Adventure trips, but will definitely keep a little piece of NZ in my heart. A truly bucket list destination.


    Gigi (from The Bahamas)
    Gigi Smith Review Image
    – West Virginia, United States
    Rimu, July 2017
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    North Island Kauri

    The North Island was an amazing adventure. We were kept busy hiking, biking snorkelling and kayaking, and our guides were very easy going and helpful in every way. We saw and experienced more of the Maori culture, the large Kauri trees (words cannot describe), and felt the love and appreciation of the Maori people for the land, birds and all living species. It was great to have them guide us through the kauri forests. The trip is spit in half in the middle with a day in Aukland, and the first half we had 12 in the group and the second half there were 13 (A lot) in our group. I prefer smaller groups. The scenery was amazing, Natalie and Jasmine were amazing as well. An AMAZING trip! Loved it!
    Colleen Clark Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Kauri, March 2018

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

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It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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