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Follow an old pioneer's track before continuing down the river to the coast, or walk to a rocky shore and explore tidal pools.

Track overview

Walking and tramping

20 min - 2 hr Easy: Walking track

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


Smoothwater Bay Track

Time: 1 hr 30 min - 2 hr

This track offers a variety of terrain. For the first 45 minutes it follows an old pioneer's track until the Smoothwater River is reached. The more adventurous will continue down this clear-flowing river, keeping to the riverbed. The reward for 40 minutes of wet feet is the beauty and solitude of Smoothwater Bay. Sturdy footwear recommended.

Jackson Bay. Photo: Bruce Postill. Jackson Bay

Wharekai-Te Kou Walk

Time: 20 min

Walk from sheltered Jackson Bay to the rocky shore at Ocean Beach. Interpretion panels tell stories about tidal pools and the life of the rocky shore. Leave shellfish untouched for others to see. Return via the track - no coastal access.

Lake Ellery Track

Time: 1–2 hr return 

A pleasant 3 km return walk through beech forest to a glacier-formed lake. The track meanders alongside the Ellery Stream, which can be boated.

Access: Turn off the main road on to the Jackson River Road, south of the Arawhata bridge.The track start is 3 km along this sealed road.

Getting there

Jackson Bay is 51 km south of Haast along the Haast-Jackson Bay Road.

Walks are signposted as you travel to Jackson Head. 

History and culture

European settlement was attempted at Jackson Bay Okahu during the 1870s. The pioneers' attempt to "tame" the landscape was largely unsuccessful but their efforts left a tradition of South Westland residents as being tough, resilient and independent. 


Awarua / Haast Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 750 0809
Address:   Haast Junction
Corner SH6 and Jackson Bay Road
South Westland
Full office details
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