People walking the South Coast Track
Image: Amy Stewart-Badger | DOC

Introduction

This track of varying difficulty leads along rugged southern Fiordland coast to Port Craig (easy overnight) and beyond to the more remote Big River (4 days one way).

Track overview

61 km to Big River

Walking and tramping

7 hr to Port Craig, 4 days to Big River Intermediate: Great Walk/Easier tramping track
Advanced: Tramping track
Expert: Route

Dog access

No dogs

About this track

Description

The first section, an easy, family-friendly walk to Port Craig School Hut, can be done as an overnight trip with beautiful coastal views and a taste of history. 

This track can be combined with Teal Bay to South Coast Track and Hump Ridge Track and more (see Moirs Guide South).

Rarakau carpark to Port Craig School Hut

Great Walk/Easier tramping track
Time: 7 hours
Distance: 20 km

From the Rarakau carpark, the track follows an old road over several suspension bridges and past beachside baches. Passing the Hump Ridge Track Okaka Lodge turnoff, the track skirts several beaches and headlands before arriving at the magnificent Blowholes Beach.

Hectors dolphins are often seen all along this coastline (look for the round, ‘mickey mouse’ shaped fin in the shallows).

From here the track climbs over another headland to Breakneck Creek, where it re-enters the forest before arriving at the historic Port Craig School Hut (DOC) and Port Craig Lodge (private). Interpretive panels and a short walk around the site may help you learn about the timber milling history of the area.

Port Craig Hut.

Port Craig School Hut

Category: Serviced
Facilities: 20 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served

Port Craig School Hut to Wairaurahiri Hut

Tramping track
Time: 6 hours
Distance: 16 km

The track follows an old logging tramline for 15 km through regenerating native forest. The Sandhill and Percy Burn viaducts are reached after 2 hours walk from Port Craig. The Tuatapere Port Craig Viaducts Trust hut is sited at Percy Burn.

The track continues and crosses both the Edwin Burn and Francis Burn viaducts. At the end of the tramline the track enters mature bush and descends through three river terraces to a clearing on the banks of the Wairaurahiri River, and the Wairaurahiri Hut.

The privately owned Waitutu Lodge is located on the opposite side of the river, approximately 600 m off the track towards the coast. 

Inside the Wairaurahiri Hut, South Coast Track.

Wairaurahiri Hut

Category: Standard
Facilities: 14 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served

Wairaurahiri Hut to Waitutu Hut

Tramping track
Time: 6 hours
Distance: 13 km

Cross the Wairaurahiri River over the bridge next to the hut. This track winds through private Māori land and bush clad coastal terraces until meeting the Waitutu River, where a suspension bridge gives access to the Waitutu Hut (200 m upstream on the true right bank).

Waitutu Hut, South Coast Track.

Waitutu Hut

Category: Standard
Facilities: 12 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served

Waitutu Hut to Big River

Route
Time: 5+ hours
Distance: 12 km

From the Waitutu Hut, the track is a marked route and is recommended for experienced trampers only. Westies Hut is located in a sea cave at Prices Harbour, signposted from the track about 2 km east of Big River.

Westies Hut, South Coast Track.

Westies Hut

Category: Basic/bivvies
Facilities: 5 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served

Getting there

This track starts from the Rarakau carpark, Bluecliffs Beach in Te Waewae Bay, southern Fiordland.

To get there from Tuatapere, go south on Papatotara Road and drive about 28 km following signs to Bluecliffs Beach and the Rarakau carpark. 7 km of this road is unsealed.

The carpark is signposted in front of the Rarakau Station homestead, 150 m past the track entrance (cars are left at the owner's risk).

Know before you go

Track conditions can be muddy, with un-bridged streams and rivers. Please take extremely good care with tides whenever attempting to travel along the coast.

The sections beyond Port Craig are tramping tracks and routes, so you will need good to above average fitness and high level backcountry (remote areas) skills and experience, including navigation and survival skills.

More detailed track information

Further information is avaiable in "Moirs Guide South” edited by Robin McNeill. 

Port Craig Lodge

Is located 500 m from the Port Craig School Hut. It is a backcountry lodge operated by Tuatapere Humpridge Track and sleeps up to 40 people. Booking and prior payment is essential; via the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track office.

Contacts

Te Rua-o-te-moko / Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 249 7924
Email:   fiordlandvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Fiordland National Park
Visitor Centre
Lakefront Drive
Te Anau 9600
Full office details
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