The Tūātapere Hump Ridge Track

January 15, 2021
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THE Tūātapere Hump Ridge Track, NewZealand’s newest Great Walk (2019), is just outside of Tūātapere, west ofInvercargill. The Hump Ridge Track is managed by Tūātapere Humpridge Track, acharitable trust set up via a partnership formed between DOC and the localcommunity. The trust offers a range of tour packages such as guided tours andhelicopter rides, and it is well worth consulting its website, shown above,even if you are just a more ordinary sort of tramper.

A three-day loop track along the south coast of New Zealand,the Hump Ridge Track covers fifty-five kilometres of beaches, forests andsubalpine terrain. The track is shown in black in the map thatfollows. It’s also possible, in this area, to tramp over the Hump Ridge by quitea different course, varying from a four wheel drive road to a poled route, to getto Poteriteri Hut on Lake Poteriteri, the only big lake in the South Islandthat’s completely inaccessible by road.


The Hump Ridge Track (black) and the 4WD Road/Track/Routeto Poteriteri Hut (grey). LINZ via NZ Topo Map, 2021.The three big lakes shown are, from west to east, Poteriteri, Hauroko andMonowai.

The night before the tramp, I stayed in Tūātapere at abackpackers’ hostel. Unfortunately, just as I was trying to get to sleep, thelocal youth began doing burnouts outside my window in their cars. There werepeople partying on the street and in the hostel until four o’clock in themorning.

After a patchy night’s sleep, I started the track and soonmet a cigarette-smoking businessman from Hamilton who threw his cigarettes inthe bush as he was tramping. I also met and tramped with a Dutch girl who hadbeen tramping around New Zealand for four months. The sunset on the first nightwas so beautiful, and you could even see Stewart Island in the distance. Aswell as witnessing the stunning views, walkers on the track can also cross someof the world’s tallest wooden railway viaducts.

After completing the Hump Ridge Track, I returned to thesame hotel in Tūātapere. The owner refunded my first night’s fees and then gaveme a free night and a lift to Invercargill the next day, which was a greatexample of southern hospitality and more than made up for my issues on thefirst night.

Once in Invercargill, I met the DOC manager responsible forvolunteer hut wardens, who took me shopping. Here I was to get the food Ineeded for my next adventure: a two-week stint at the Port William Hut inStewart Island at the start of the North West Circuit Track.

Hump Ridge Sunset

Hump Ridge

Tūātapere Humpridge Track,


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