6 Best Walks in Haast

(c) Tomas Sobek on Flickr

Walking & Hiking Trails in Haast.

This isolated community tucked away in the southern regions of the West Coast just happens to be a great base for some glorious hikes. Haast is located in a UNESCO World Heritage Area where it’s easy to find untouched ancient rainforest. Walk to secluded beaches, wildlife haven estuaries, lakes and waterfalls along the walks in Haast.

While you’re here, you might also be interested in 5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Fox Glacier & Haast and 10 Reasons Why Haast has World Heritage Status.


1. Cattle Track (3 days one way)

Follow a historic hiking trail made by farmers in 1875 to drive cattle through the valleys. Today, this is a 3-day wilderness hike for experienced hikers with backcountry experience. There are three Department of Conservation huts available to stay in along the way on this trek through river valleys and West Coast rainforest.

Location: Windbag Saddle car park (well signed) off State Highway 6, 40km northeast of Haast.
Sarang on Wikipedia(c) Sarang on Wikipedia

2. Blowfly Hut (3-4 hours return)

Experience just a day hike of the historic Cattle Track (see above) by following the beginning of the trail to Blowfly Hut. The track is easy to follow, crossing the Moeraki River on a swing bridge and past the Maori Hut sign on to the Blowfly Hut. Return the same way.

Location: Windbag Saddle car park (well signed) off State Highway 6, 40km northeast of Haast.
Sarang on Wikipedia(c) Sarang on Wikipedia

3. Monro Beach Walk (1h20 minutes one way)

Discover one of the remote beaches of the West Coast on the Monro Beach Walk. The track begins going through the vibrant coastal forest, ending on Monro Beach. In spring, it’s possible to spot Fiordland-crested penguins, but be careful not to disturb these rare birds.

Location: Signposted off State Highway 6, 30km north of Haast.
Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia(c) Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia

4. Ship Creek (20 minutes loop)

Ship Creek has two walks. The first is an easy-going 20-minute loop called the Kahikatea Swamp Forest Walk, which goes through a swamp of kahikatea, otherwise known as white pine. The other walk is the 30-minute loop walk, the Dune Lake Walk. Part of the walk goes over a boardwalk on sand dunes then through the windswept coastal forest. There are viewpoints and platforms on these walks to take in stunning views and watch out for wildlife.

Location: Signposted off State Highway 6, 20km north of Haast.
brewbooks on Flickr(c) brewbooks on Flickr

5. Hapuka Estuary Walk (20-minute loop)

It’s well worth venturing to Jackson Bay to check out a few short and half-day hikes. The Hapuka Estuary Walk goes into an intertidal zone offering a rich ecosystem of birdlife, seals and whitebait. There is a viewing platform looking out to the Open Bay islands. Other walks in the area include the 1-2 hour return Lake Ellery Track, the 3-4-hour return Smoothwater Bay Track and the 40-minute return Wharekai-Te Kou Walk.

Location: Haast-Jackson Bay Road, 51km south of Haast.
Tomas Sobek on Flickr(c) Tomas Sobek on Flickr

6. Roaring Billy Falls Walk (30 minutes return)

The Haast Pass Road has a number of waterfall walks, the longest being the Roaring Billy Falls Walk. This is an easy walk lined with tree ferns and surrounded by grand beech forest. You’ll reach the Haast River and the riverbed with vibrant blue waters, as well as water cascading over huge boulders forming the Roaring Billy Falls.

Location: Signposted off State Highway 6, 27km east of Haast.
Krzysztof Golik on Wikipedia(c) Krzysztof Golik on Wikipedia

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