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.


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

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 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 .
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    – New York, United States
    Kiwi, February 2018
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    Manuka-February 2018

    This is our third Active Adventures trip and we have never been disappointed. Each trip has been a learning experience for us. The beautiful sights and people we have met along the way have made it a very worthwhile event that we will never forget. We enjoyed working with your professional team of staff and guides and hopefully one day we will return for another adventure. Thanks, Steve and Marilyn.
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    – Washington, United States
    Manuka, February 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    I wasn't ready for the trip to end!

    I don't even know where to let's start at the beginning. I spent the last year dreaming about going to New Zealand, trying to talk just one friend into going with me, and finally, with some encouragement from family, booking this trip as a first time solo traveler. And let me be clear- that was the best decision I could have made! I enjoyed every single minute of my trip and wouldn't change the experience of traveling solo for anything. From the moment I met Gary and Mel, I knew that I had made the right decision. They were welcoming, to all, from the moment they met us. Right away I knew I had nothing to worry about, and worry I did prior to the start of the trip. I could not have asked for a better group of travel mates; it was as if you had hand-picked who should be on the trip together. They were amazing! The experiences on the trip would not have been nearly as amazing if it wasn't for these awesome people with whom I had the good fortune to travel.
    Gary and Mel were kind, patient, and so easy to be around. They answered every question a novice like myself asked, without ever making me feel like an idiot. Gary was witty, kept us going, and a super safe driver! ( I am not a big fan of mountain roads with cliffs on the edge that lead to instant death and not once did I fear for my life.) Mel's cooking...holy smokes was it good; so much so that the pounds I was so sure I would lose on the trip didn't happen. She has even inspired me to try to cook a couple of her dishes this winter. She made it look so easy, even with the varied diets of the group. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I had chatting with both Gary and Mel wherever we were: on the bus, hiking, eating or playing cards. They brought us all together.
    Now, for the adventures! Every day was different from the day prior. I saw and experienced so many new things that I can't stop talking about it. I loved the really challenging hikes (Sealy Tarns and Alex Knob) and the slower paced treks through the rain forest and valleys. The night sky at Mt. Aspiring Hut is indescribable! While we were unable to go on the second overnight hike due to weather, Gary and Mel didn't miss a beat. We were so busy and had so much fun, even in the rain, that you would never have known that we were doing almost 3 days of alternate activities. Major kudos to them for this! I could keep going on how much I enjoyed every aspect of my trip. This was the first vacation I have been on where I didn't want it to end and it truly was the trip of a lifetime. I can't wait to book my next trip with Active Adventures!
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    – California, United States
    Winter Rimu, August 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Amazing Adventure!

    I just got home from the Winter Rimu trip throughout South Island of New Zealand. To say it was simply "amazing" does not accurately describe the trip. The views, adventures, service and guides were extraordinary. The trip was worth every penny. Even when snowstorms came or other inclement weather hit, there was always a backup plan that allowed us to keep experiencing the awesome culture, people, mountains, lakes and glaciers of New Zealand. I was very impressed with Active Adventures and can not wait to plan my next trip through Active Adventures!
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    – Tennessee, United States
    Winter Rimu, August 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Very Glad We Added Kauri to Our Trip

    We added Kauri to our Rimu trip because we wanted to spend more time with the Maori culture and see the north island. Our wishes were more than fulfilled by this excellent trip.
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    – Massachusetts, United States
    Kauri, December 2017



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