FAQs, your questions answered
Feel free to email or call us with any queries not answered here: +64 (03) 525 9576 (anytime, evenings up to 9.30pm best). Leave a message with your number if the answerphone is on and we will return your call promptly.
What details do you need when we book?
- Your name, location, and a contact phone number in New Zealand (mobile and/or landline)
- The dates, how many nights you are taking and in which direction you are walking the Heaphy
- The number of walkers in your group
- The type of vehicle you have and whether you have a spare key
- If you are staying in Golden Bay before you start, or Karamea if walking eastwards, where you expect to be staying
Are the car parks safe for vehicles?
Both the Kohaihai carpark and the Brown Hut carpark are considered very safe places to leave vehicles. No damage or breakins have been known to us there. Before relocation your vehicle is stored at our home in Ligar Bay near Takaka.
What about fuel?
We ask you to have plenty in the tank when you hand your vehicle over to us, and to provide extra cash so that your tank has sufficient when you finish walking. Fuel is obtainable in Takaka and in Collingwood. The distance from one end of the Heaphy Track to the other is about 465 Km (290 miles) and takes seven hours to drive. For the Golden Bay to West Coast direction we normally refuel for you in Westport (115Km from the Track start) on the way through. If the relocation is from the West Coast to Golden Bay we fill up at Murchison or Motueka. A fuel receipt will be provided for you.
Can I get what I will need for walking the Heaphy in Takaka?
There are ATM cash machines in Takaka, and a well-stocked supermarket just opposite the i-Site. There are also plenty of places to get food on your way through to the Brown Hut, including coffee and scones at the Historic Langford's Store just 20 minutes before the track start.
How can we be sure of meeting you on the Heaphy Track?
Derry has a vast experience of the Heaphy and will be able to estimate where you will have reached at the time he (or his deputy) comes through. The Track has very few side-tracks so it is most unlikely that your group will go off the Track on the meeting day. If you do, we would ask you to leave a pack on the Track and he will wait there for you. If it is mutually suitable we may arrange to meet you at one of the huts.
Sometimes we have a vehicle to drive in the other direction so that we do not meet your group on the Track itself. That's why we ask you to provide a spare key, if possible, which will be locked in your vehicle once we have taken it to its destination.
What about a hired car?
Most but not all New Zealand hire car companies are happy with our arrangements but require notice of the designated driver's licence details in advance. Therefore you should check beforehand what is acceptable and provide them with these details, which we will make sure you have when you book with us. We also like to know the name of your hire company well before the date of your trip. There is an extra charge of $10 for dealing with rental vehicles, for the extra administration involved.
Do you provide transport for those without a vehicle?
We do not provide passenger transport. See our Links page for alternative providers at both ends of the Heaphy Track and elsewhere in the region.
Do you do food drops or catering?
Unfortunately we are now unable to arrange food drops or catering for clients.
How long does it take to drive from Picton or Nelson to Takaka and on to the Brown Hut?
We suggest that you allow just under 2 hours Nelson - Takaka. It may look short on the map, but there is a large mountain to drive over. Allow 4 hours Picton - Takaka. It takes just over an hour to drive from Takaka to the Brown Hut carpark.
How rough is the road to the Heaphy Track start?
The last 15km of the road to Brown Hut at the Collingwood end of the Heaphy is not tar sealed. The three fords have now been bridged, and the gravel section is well maintained, so the road is passable for all types of vehicles. There is a landline telephone at Brown Hut, but no mobile phone cover (and no gas for cooking).
The road in/out at the West Coast end is easy, only 15km (10miles) to Karamea, with a very short gravel section. There is a landline phone at the Kohaihai track end.
What is mobile phone coverage like?
Golden Bay's mobile phone coverage is patchy so we prefer to use our landline +64 (03) 525 9576, which has a regularly checked answerphone if we are unable to respond to your call. There is now mobile phone coverage at Karamea and at the Kohaihai track end. There are only two places with mobile phone coverage on the Heaphy Track itself: at the Aorere Shelter, three hours walk up from Brown Hut (all networks), and at the Heaphy River mouth near the Heaphy Hut (Spark only).