The Heaphy Track
Named after Charles Heaphy, one of the first Europeans to have explored the area, this track was used extensively during the gold rush era in the latter 1800s. After it was discovered there was hardly any gold in the area, the track fell into disrepair until the North-west Nelson Forest Park was established in 1965. Later it would become Kahurangi National Park and today the Heaphy Track is one of the most walked tracks in New Zealand.
Below is a write up from North to South (Brown hut to Kohaihai shelter). However here is a link describing the walk in the other direction using a write up on another website, South-West to North-East Kohaihai shelter to Brown hut.
We can transport to both ends of the track to begin or finish your walk in either direction.
Distance: 82 km
Approximate Time: 4 to 6 days
There are seven trampers' huts along the Heaphy Track and three emergency shelters, all maintained by the DOC. You also have a choice of nine designated camping areas along the track.
Transport Nelson to Brown Hut
Approximate time: 2 hr 45 min with Trek Express. (e-mail) Plus other services such as bag relocation and car storage, and help combining on existing trips, or finding others to lower costs.
Brown Hut to Perry Saddle Hut
Distance: 17 km
Approximate time: 5 hours
Your journey begins at Brown hut, which is outfitted with 16 bunks. Upstream from the hut you can find a bridge which will take you across the Brown River. After crossing a grassy clearing you will find a well-defined track leading up into the bush. After about 3 hours and a half walking time you will see Aorere shelter, from which point it is possible to spot Mt. Egmont/Taranaki on a clear day. This first part of the track is a pretty consistent climb up to the track's highest point at Perry Saddle (915 metres).
Perry Saddle hut has 24 bunk spaces and nearby is Gorge River, a deep and cold pool suitable for bathing. Inside you will find heating and cooking facilities, but make sure to bring your own cooking gear as this may not always be available!
Perry Saddle Hut to Gouland Downs Hut
Distance: 8 km
Approximate time: 2 hours
Across Perry Saddle and through fields of tussock grass and beech trees you will come to Gouland Downs. It is an easy descent down to Cave Brook and Gouland Downs hut, the oldest hut on the track. The hut has 8 bunk spaces with mattresses and heating facilities.
Nearby is a limestone outcrop which is an interesting place to explore with remnants of old caves and waterfalls. Also keep an eye out for the "boot pole," a pole on which trampers have tied old boots over the years.
Gouland Downs Hut to Saxon Hut
Distance: 5 km
Approximate time: 1.5 hours
This flatter part of the journey is an easy trek but when the fog rolls in be careful as it can be easy to become disoriented.
Saxon Hut is the newest on the track and can sleep up to 16 people. There are cooking and heating facilities provided here.
Saxon Hut to James MacKay Hut
Distance: 14 km
Approximate time: 3 hours
The track here travels very close to the Saxon River and in heavy rain conditions it can flood. In these conditions it is quite dangerous and the DOC recommends trekkers wait for the water to recede before proceeding.
The track then climbs to a ridge, marking the boundary between Nelson and the West Coast. You continue on around MacKay Downs with small streams descending down to Heaphy River on the left. Finally you come to James MacKay Hut from where you can see the Tasman Sea 750 metres below.
James MacKay Hut has room for 26 with heating and cooking facilities provided.