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Backpack the Hump Ridge Track

Rowallan, New Zealand



37.3 miles

Elevation Gain

3280.8 ft

Route Type



Added by Maggie Evans

Enjoy walking through lush green forests, along remote beaches, and on ridges overlooking the ocean, lakes and surrounding peaks. You'll very likely see hector dolphins, keas and kakas, fantails and lots of other iconic NZ wildlife.

This loop track is intended to be walked over 3 days (2 nights) and is just over 60km long with nearly 1,000 meters elevation gain. For those of you uber fit people with an appetite for a more intense adventure, it's also possible to tackle the whole thing in a single day, but be prepared for a challenging 10-15 hours on your feet (likely in wet and muddy shoes...). A lot of the track is boardwalked and pretty easy to cover, but there are still long stretches of muddy and water-logged trail, as well as some slower beach stretches. But most importantly, it's absolutely beautiful and fun the whole way!

Below is a description of how you would do it as a 3-day trip.

Day 1: From the Rarakau Car Park to Okaka Lodge (~22km)

The track starts about 200m from the car park and winds through lush green forest before descending to Bluecliffs Beach. After meandering along the water for a little ways you'll come to a swing bridge across the Waikoau River. From there, follow the beach for ~2km (and look for Hector dolphins!) until you hit a rocky cliff and are forced to leave the beach to pick up a 4WD track. At this point, you've covered the first 6km and the only stretch of track that goes along the beach for Day 1. From there, you'll soon enter Fiordland National Park, and then a couple of kilometers after that you'll cross a bridge to get to a signposted junction. Take the right branch towards Stag Point and Okaka Lodge, and be prepared to start climbing....and climbing some more. And then some more. The lush green forest is incredible to behold, especially if the sun is dappling through and illuminating all the ferns. The native bird sounds are aslo incredible, and if you're lucky you might see some Kakas and Keas, the native parrots.

When you feel like you can't climb uphill anymore, you're almost at Stag Point. Luckily, there are kilometer markings counting down to the hut, which help you set your expectations for how much further you have to go (aka climb). Once at Stag Point, you get stunning view out across Te Wae Wae Bay to Stewart Island if it's a clear day. From there you only have a short climb before you get to the turnoff for the summit ridge and Okaka Lodge. The optional loop track which circles around the tors and tarns further up the ridge takes about 45 minutes and offers stunning views of southern Fiordland, the Waitutu Forest and the Southern Ocean.

Day 2: Okaka Lodge to Port Craig Lodge (~20km)

Re-trace your way back along the board-walk to the turnoff you took to get to the hut and pick up the track that descends the Hump Ridge. You re-enter the bush, but then you emerge again to expansive ocean views. After descending for a while you start climbing again to get over a little 'hump'. Once over the hump, you'll see a sign for a small detour to a shelter with water and a toilet. It makes a good lunch spot on a rainy day. It's mostly downhill through Native Forest after that, and the track is largely board-walked until you hit sea-level. Once at sea-level, you'll cross a bridge and then start following a wide trail that is an old railway. A couple kilometers along it you'll get to the detour that dips down and then back up past the Percy Burn Viaduct. There's a hut on the opposite side of the Viaduct, but don't get your hopes up that you're done for the day since it's not your hut...you still have a bit more to go to Port Craig Lodge. You'll continue along the old railway track through a dense tree canopy that makes the track look like a green tunnel to reach Port Craig Lodge, and kilometer markers will count down the distance to the hut again. The hut is located with great access to the beach, but there are heaps of sandflies about so bring some bug juice and/or layers!! Also keep a lookout for more Hector dolphins.

Day 3: Port Craig Lodge to Rarakau Car Park (~20km)

The final day winds mostly through lush, green native bush alonf an undulating track. You'll have a little climbing to do to get over some bluffs, but nothing compared to the climb on Day 1. Eventually you descend to Blowholes Beach, and from there you beach hop along the South Coast before climbing back to the coastal terrace and past the Okaka track junction from Day 1. From there, the last ~10km back to the car park retraces the first 10km you did on Day 1.

A great description of the track can be found at http://www.humpridgetrack.co.nz/pages/hump-ridge-track/.

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