Lake Ellery walk

Image: Shellie Evans | ©


For an easy walk head to the rocky shore where kids of all ages can explore tidal pools, or follow an old pioneer's track before continuing down the river to the coast.

Track overview

Walking and tramping

20 min - 2 hr Easy: Walking track

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


Wharekai-Te Kou Walk

Time: 20 min
Track category: Short walk 

This short, interesting walk from sheltered Jackson Bay to the rocky shore at Ocean Beach is great for kids. Read stories about tidal pools and the life of the rocky shore.on interpreation panels. Explore the tidal pools but leave shellfish untouched for others to see. Return via the track - no coastal access.

Smoothwater Bay Track

Time: 1 hr 30 min - 2 hr
Track category: Tramping track 

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.

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
Fax:   -
Address:   Haast Junction
Corner SH6 and Jackson Bay Road
South Westland
Postal Address:   PO Box 50
Haast 7844
Back to top