Hunt red deer, possums, hares, and low numbers of chamois in the Waiatoto Valley, a 50 km long valley about 2 km south of Haast.


  • Chamois
  • Deer - Red
  • Possums

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.

Dog access

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

About this hunting block


The Waiatoto is a 50 km long valley about 20 km south of Haast.

This glacial formed valley has a shallow gradient reaching only 150 m at Bonar Flats 40 km up the valley. The wide flat valley bottom has several grassed flats where cattle are grazed but most flats are bush covered. There are two main side streams, the Te Naihi and Drake entering from the true right.

Away from the flats the terrain is steep with forested hill slopes to about 1000 m, tussock faces then exposed rock bluffs to over 2000 m. The forests are silver beech dominated with areas of podocarp at lower altitudes. The upper slopes of the valley above 100 m are part of Mount Aspiring National Park.

Hunting ballots

There are nine restricted access, balloted roar blocks between March and April. The roar blocks are above Palmers Creek, the area below Palmers Creek is an open block.

The roar blocks are:

  • Block 42 – Mueller River
  • Block 41 – Palmer Creek
  • Block 40 – Casey Creek
  • Block 39 – Upper Te Nahi River
  • Block 38 – Lower Te Nahi River
  • Block 37 – Charlies Ponds
  • Block 36 – Drake River
  • Block 35 – Drake Flats Waiatoto
  • Block 34 – Donald River

More information and how to apply for the roar ballot.


Access to the area is from the Haast – Jackson Bay Road, by jet boat to the lower reaches, by horse back or helicopter. 


A cattle track from Nisson farm follows the true left bank then crosses the river and follows the true right bank up stream. Landowner permission is required to cross Nisson farm.

The Waiatoto is a large river in the lower reaches and can be very difficult to cross at most times. There are no footbridges in the valley.


Jet boating to the bottom of the first gorge at Palmers Creek is easy but beyond there the river passes through a steep boulder strewn patch and only very experienced drivers attempt this passage.


Helicopter Landings into Mount Aspiring National Park are by DOC approved aircraft concessionaires only.


Nisson farm is private land and the mid Waiatoto is held under a grazing licence. You need the landholders permission to cross.

Contact Haast Visitor Centre for landholder contact details.


NZ Topo50 BY11, BZ11, CA11.


The upper parts of this area are part of Mount Aspiring National Park and dogs are not permitted inside national parks. Elsewhere all areas are prohibited to dogs except where authorisation has been granted by DOC.

The True Left of the Waiatoto bounds the Haast Tokoeka Kiwi Sanctuary, all dogs are strictly prohibited from this area. The boundary runs true left upstream against the Waiatoto River as far as the opposite bank of the Te Nahi River mouth then across the Haast Range to Boulder Point (upstream of Jackass Creek) on the Arawhata River. It then follows the Arawhata River downstream on the true right to Jackson Bay Road then heading North to the Waiatoto River Bridge. You can hunt in the Sanctuary, but there may be DOC staff or contractors present at any time of the day or night, year-round.


There are no DOC huts in the valley.


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. 

Know before you go

Check for current pesticide operations that may be in progress where you intend to hunt using the pesticide summary map West Coast pesticide map.

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


Tititea / Mount Aspiring National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   03 4437660
Email:   wanakavc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   1 Ballantyne Road
Wanaka 9305
Postal Address:   PO Box 93
Wanaka 9343
Awarua/Haast Visitor Centre
Phone +64 3 750 0809
Email haastvc@doc.govt.nz
Address Haast Junction
Corner SH6 and Jackson Bay Road
Haast 7886
Hours See visitor centre hours
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