Whataroa is a popular destination for hunting. Red deer, chamois and tahr are common throughout the valleys of the area.


  • Chamois
  • Deer - Red
  • Tahr

Permit requirements

A permit is required to hunt on public conservation land.

This hunting area is covered by an 'open area permit' – get it online or from a DOC office.

Seasonal restrictions

No hunting in Franz Josef valley 20 December to 31 January and between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Dog access

Dogs with a DOC permit only. More information below or contact the relevant DOC office.


About this hunting block

General information

The Whataroa is a major river system about 30 km north of Franz Josef. It splits into two main Valleys, the Whataroa and the Perth plus a number of smaller side valleys. All these valleys are popular destinations for hunting.

The lower Whataroa Valley upstream from the SH6 bridge, is a series of river flats and bush terraces that extend upstream to Barrowman Flat in the Whataroa and Nolans Flat in The Perth. Above here the valleys close in and become generally steeper.

The area is mostly hardwood forest with large stands of southern rata and podocarps, dense alpine scrub at higher altitudes and tussock faces. The landforms are mostly very steep and broken.


Access to the Whataroa is off SH6 on the south side of the Whataroa Bridge. A track begins approx 0.5 km from SH6 at the end of a gravel road. From the track start it takes about two hours to reach the swing bridge at the Whataroa Gorge. From here the track forks and continues up both the main Whataroa River and the Perth River Valley.

View Whataroa, Butler and Perth valleys track information

Helicopter access is available to most parts of the Whataroa Catchment with the exceptions of areas in the Adams Wildnerness Area (this includes the Barlow River Catchment and all of the true right of the Perth River upstream from the Barlow and the true left of the Perth upstream of Tainui Creek). This broad helicopter access makes the Whataroa/Perth a popular spot for hunters.


To walk up the Whataroa permission should be obtained from Dave Friend, phone +64 3 753 4091, who has freehold and leasehold land in the lower valley.


NZTopo50 BW16, BW17, BX16, BX17


All areas are prohibited to dogs except where authorisation has been granted by DOC. People wishing to take a dog into this area should seek authorisation from the DOC Office.


There are five public huts in this area:

Hut fees apply.


Red deer can be found throughout the area at any time of the year however spring hunting on the grass flats and the Roar is most popular. 

Deer numbers are highest in the lower Whataroa and Lower Perth valleys. Deer numbers decline the further up the valleys you travel. The grassy flats near Nolans Hut, at Barrowman Flat and below the Perth/Whataroa confluence are most popular.

Chamois are found throughout the area. Open stream beds and slips are a good place to locate chamois though they can be encountered anywhere.

Tahr are common in all the main valleys at higher altitude especially around steep bluff areas that can be difficult to hunt.

Popular tahr hunting areas include the head of Hughes Creek, head of the Scone, Bettison Ridge, King Peak (very steep), Barrowman Creek, head of the Butler River.

Possums are controlled by DOC in large parts of the Whataroa and Perth valleys and are usually in low numbers.

Additional information

Hunters are advised to check for current pesticide operations that may be in progress where they intend to hunt. Summaries are published on this site every four months.

The use of shotguns, shotgun-rifle combos, .22 calibre and rim-fire firearms is prohibited on public conservation land unless stated otherwise.


Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre
Phone +64 3 752 0360
Email westlandnpvc@doc.govt.nz
Address 69 Cron Street
Franz Josef Glacier 7856
Hours Visitor centre hours and services
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