The Forgotten Coast - 5 days

The Forgotten Coast - 5 Days

The Forgotten Coast

This walk is the most remote. It passes along an ancient coastal route, deep blue sea to the west and deep green bush to the east. This walk that will inspire and invigorate with its untouched environment, blue seas, blue skies and sheer beauty.


The Basics

Length: Departures: 5 days, 50 km.
October 2014 Tuesday 28th.
November 2014 Wednesday 26th.
December 2014 Thursday 11th.
January 2015 Saturday 24th.
February 2015 Sunday 8th.
March 2015 Tuesdy 10th
Group size:
$2,795.00 per person
Maximum 5 people plus 2 guides.
Minimum 3 people plus guide
Difficulty: Moderate.
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Day 1: Queenstown to Barn Bay
We depart early from Queenstown for the scenic drive through Wanaka and Haast Pass to the untouched wilderness of the West Coast at Jackson Bay. A spectacular helicopter flight then takes us over the remote Cascade Plateau to the Cascade River mouth where our hike begins.

We hike south around Iota Bluff to the isolated beach at Maori Creek, passing along a stretch of coast known for its pounamu and its deep sea canyons close to shore. It is a prime location for marine life. The afternoon takes us around a bouldery coast to the reefs, lagoon and beach at Barn Bay for our first night beside the Hope River, either in the rustic and cosy fisherman's hut or camping.

Distance 9 km (4-5 hours walking time)
Accommodation Fisherman’s hut, or camping
Difficulty Moderate - mostly boulder-stepping

Day 2: Barn Bay to Spoon River

We cross the Hope River and hike around the coast past Little Cascade Bay. This stretch hosts the endangered tawaki (Fiordland crested penguin) and if we are lucky we may spot them. After passing an old unidentified shipwreck slowly being grown through by the coastal vegetation, we follow the old bulldozer trail over Sandrock Bluff. Kaka are sometimes enountered at the top. Coming out onto an empty sandy beach, we cross Callery Creek and make our way along to our camping spot at the mouth of the remote Spoon River, a great place for wandering and exploration.

Distance 10 km (5-8 hours walking time)
Accommodation Camping
Difficulty Moderate – morning is mostly boulder-stepping and stone beach, and the afternoon is track and sandy beach.

Day 3: Spoon River to Gorge River
Heading south from Spoon River, we pass Fork River and Browns Refuge along sandy beaches and more sheltered bays.  These gently curving coves are easy and attractive. The coastline from here to Gorge River is beautiful sculpted gravel beaches. We pass the shipwreck Empress, still protruding from the shore, and progress to the spectacular Gorge River for our third night. We should arrive early afternoon allowing time for exploring this special location. Gorge River has a peacefulness and depth that inspires and invigorates.

Distance 8 km (3-4 hours)
Accommodation DOC hut at Gorge River, or camping
Difficulty Easy. Mostly sand and gravel beach

Day 4: Gorge River to Hacket River
In the morning we continue south along a rock and boulder-strewn coast, brilliant in its untouched state, to Longridge Point for lunch. Tawaki (the endangered Fiordland crested penguin) inhabit this stretch too and can be heard, and if we are lucky, seen in the fringe coastal bush or sunning on the rocks. Next a long empty wild sandy beach leads us towards Ryans Creek before some further curved and rarely visited beach and rocky coastline to a place of magic for our last night, the Hacket River.

Distance 12 km (6-7 hours)
Accommodation Camping at Hackett River
Difficulty Moderate. Morning is boulder-hopping. Afternoon is sandy beach and rocky coastline walking

Day 5: Hacket River to Queenstown
We have a bouldery morning walk along this north-facing stretch of coast towards Awarua Point. Awarua Point juts into the deep blue Tasman Sea and has long views up and down the coast as well as inland to the Fiordland mountains. It has also been the source of some of New Zealand’s largest pounamu boulders. On some of this coast an early attempt to take bulldozers for inland prospecting can still be seen and, in fact, makes for a walking track at times. Following a lunch at the point, we are collected by helicopter for the spectacular flight back to Haast and the scenic drive back to Queenstown.

Distance 4.5 km (2-3 hours)
Difficulty Moderate. Rock and boulder-stepping