A gold miners trail deep in the bush
Ancient beech forest, gorges and mountain vistas over Kahurangi National Park – this is the track you’ll talk about for years.
Join me on the Wangapeka Track across four secluded valleys and saddles above 1,000m. Being the unknown neighbour of the Heaphy Great Walk, we’ll likely have the views and huts all to ourselves!
It’s a rough land, but the seclusion and beauty of Kahurangi is unprecedented. Mix that with our West Coast rainforest and you’ll have a bush adventure right out of the books.
Dug out in the 1890’s by gold hunters, you can still see the remains of mining activity along the track. It’s impressive how hard these unemployed miners worked to gain access into remote valleys like these, especially considering how little fortune was found.
It’s the mix of rich history and contrasting scenery – from rocky gorges to gentle river flats – that makes this area so special. If you’re up for a challenge and a trip you won’t forget, this is your Adventure. There are few better ways to experience the NZ bush than a multi-day trip like this.
One person from *$1655 NZD
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As a born and bred West Coaster, the bush is in my blood! I love showing off my beautiful Kāinga Tupu (homeland) and all it has to offer. I'm always exploring new places with my best mate Skadi, the white shepherd. My love for exploring the great outdoors is what drove me to leave my hectic day job and create a life that allowed me to get outside more. I'm a big fan of essential living, enjoying the simple things and staying away from material goods; you can get the benefits from all that out in the bush. If you hike with me, we'll visit some spots literally off the beaten track. The beaches on my Instagram are a prime example. I look forward to showing you the Coast!
- Knows the Coast and the "Coasters" like the back of his hand.
- Good knowledge of survival manuals and outdoor techniques.
- Has a “pretty mean beard”.
- Has lived abroad for 17 years.
- Basic First Aid Certificate.
Historic huts, native forest and crystal-clear rivers
A scenic drive from Nelson leads us to the start of our 59km long Adventure. Luckily, the first section allows us to warm up with an easy hike over river terraces and swing bridges, before scrambling over old landslide debris. Our lunch stop marks the first historic spot on our itinerary: Cecil Kings Hut, once inhabited by the gold miner Cecil King during the Depression. While he used to offer passing trampers a cuppa and a chat, the hut is now abandoned but still worth a visit.
Next up is the Wangapeka Saddle at 1,009m, with various side trips to choose from. It’s a short hike to our next accommodation on Day 2, and we should definitely take the chance to explore more of the area. I’ll show you what choices we have on the day, once we know the weather conditions.
Day 3 marks another short section to Taipo Hut, which leads us through the beautiful Taipo Valley. We’ll take our time here – it’s not every day you get to experience such a secluded spot, full of native birdlife, deep gorges and native bush.
We’re in for a climb to the highest point of the route on Day 4, the Little Wanganui Saddle at 1,087m. It’s a great spot to have lunch and soak in the views all the way to the coast before we head to our last hut on the trip. The final day leads over historic earthquake and landslide damage to the car park on the West Coast. Time to reward ourselves with a bite at the local pub I say!
All tours require the proper gear to ensure you’re having the time of your life, and are well prepared if things go south. It’s the real and rugged New Zealand out there!
1.5L water container
Cutlery, bowl & cup
Lighter / Matches
Pack Cover / Liner
Sunscreen & hat
Toiletries & Underwear
Top & Bottom Base layer
Torch & Batteries
Warm hat & gloves (March to October)
Warm hiking layer
Cooker & gas/fuel
Personal First Aid Kit
There are add-on extras for this tour. These are the little things that’ll either make your Adventure easier to organise or more rugged - your choice. You can add these during the booking process.
While we can stay in the backcountry huts, they also have campsites if you prefer a bit of privacy and don’t mind the fresh weather. We’ll still be able to use the hut facilities.Free
Optional side trips
Depending on the weather and track conditions, we can explore some interesting side trips on Day 2 and 3. I’ll show you the available options once we’re there - it’s best to decide on the day what we want to do.Free
Q & A
Your Bushman has added a couple of answers to questions other Visitors have asked in the past to help you with your booking plans. Once you book a tour, you'll be in direct contact with your Bushman for more support.
Can we take your Bush dog Skadi?
The Wangapeka is closed for dogs, unfortunately. There is so much endangered wildlife around here, although I trust Skadi, it's best to set an example and support the conservation efforts. But we’ll have the chance to spot the rare Whio or even our wild NZ parakeets!
Does it get cold?
The nights can get frosty and most of the track leads through sheltered forest, so I definitely recommend to take some warm gear. All of the huts have fireplaces though and it’s really magical around here in the winter months.
I'm relatively new to backcountry hikes over a day, is this achievable?
The Wangapeka is a great route for you to move to the next level, allowing recreational hikers the chance to try out new routes. I find most of my Visitors get used to the walking and hills by the second day, then get into a smooth, easy motion. There is no rush here!
Here’s a few answers to the more general questions about the whole journey. You can visit our help and support area for any further information or contact us via the chat function.
What is the refund and cancellation policy?
Bushman Tours sets a standard cancellation policy that can be found via our Terms & Conditions. This is globally set at 48 hours notice. However, Bushmen may add to this depending on the requirements for the Adventure (e.g. - hiring gear and renting equipment on your behalf). The final policy will be located at the bottom of the checkout, or you can reach out to us to check.
What happens if the tour is cancelled due to weather?
In most cases, the Bushman can arrange another day to run your tour, but this also comes down to when you're available if travelling through New Zealand. We recommend ensuring you have insurance for cancellation of any tours. If the Bushman has to cancel due to a health risk, we will call you to arrange another option.
What gear do I need?
Although we have a minimum requirement of gear, you will need the right equipment and gear that is relevant to the Adventure you're booking. This is usually found at the bottom of each tour page, but for our minimum, please visit our FAQs & blog page.
Can I hire gear/equipment?
In some circumstances, your Bushman will have equipment for you to hire. This is available to browse and book through the checkout. We may also have options through our checkout. Although you may be able to borrow gear during the tour, it's important to reserve it now.
What food shall I bring?
Depending on the length, this can vary. Your Bushman will advise on the tour page what is recommended for this particular Adventure, but typically, what we offer at checkout via the add-ons section is what you'll need. Keep it lightweight and nutritious if you buy your own.
Where do I meet my Bushman?
We always try to pick the closest iSite (Visitor Centre) to your Adventure's location. Instructions on precisely where to meet are sent after the booking is made. However, you can also message your Bushman and arrange another location as long as it's close enough to the region.
How much extra is it to add family/friends onto the booking?
If you book and find that more people want to come with you, we can arrange to add them onto the booking (this is dependant on the Bushman's preference to the number of people to take out). The more that book on the original checkout option, the cheaper the fee for each individual - so spread the word before you go to book! Please note, you cannot add or bring extra people 48 hours before the tour starts.
Can I talk to my Bushman before the Adventure?
Absolutely! Once you book, you will be able to login and chat directly to your Bushman through a private, secure chat. Here you can arrange some extras you would like to do, timings for pick up and much more.
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