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.
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.
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.