Southland has an unlimited amount of pure beauty with Fiordland National Park offering various hikes from beginner to advanced levels. This variety allows locals and tourists to get up close and personal to its untouched wilderness. There are however, only a few that make “Great Walk” status.
Of course, there is the Milford Track, Kepler Track and the Routeburn Track. All magnificent, very popular Great walks. As of today (July 2019) we have a newcomer! Time to welcome the Hump Ridge track! Give it a couple of years and about $5million and Southland will be able to claim its fourth Great Walk which is a huge testament to how stunningly beautiful our backyard is.
The Hump Ridge Track is located in the South West corner of New Zealand’s South Island, near the small town of Tuatapere. It stretches 61km and is completed by around 1800 walkers each year. My advice, get in quick while it is still relatively unknown! I’m thinking once the word gets out, kiwis and visitors alike will be flocking to Tuatapere to give it a go. Originally, parts of the track were cut way back in the late 1800’s for gold miners, then later on for a large sawmill. The Hump Ridge Track is actually rather young, only established in 2001 and has two well kept huts and around 20km of board walk. The track is mostly walked in an anti-clockwise direction and begins with a long slog up the Hump Ridge followed by a second day of mostly down hill. The third and final day sees you return to the start of the loop and a long stroll over beaches and through native bush to the car park.
Back in 2017, there was a competition running throughout New Zealand to choose the next Great walk. Going up against some stiff competition such as the Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds, nominations where gathered up and Hump Ridge came out on top. Those in charge say the track will be reopening in 2022 after investing $5million into upgrading the track. Although that is a huge amount of money that will be extremely helpful, nothing can beat the amazing views from the top of the ridge offering panoramic views of south-west Fiordland, the Southern Ocean, and Stewart Island. It’s also going to be a huge boost for the small town of Tuatapere. Known for two things, the track of course and having the title of NZ’s Sausage Capital. Although the original “Tuatapere sausage” butcher has closed up shop the current butcher still makes a good snag so be sure to stop in after you’ve completed the track!
So, brush the dust off those tramping boots and get those legs moving. When the updates for this track are completed it’ll be a real treat, although mother nature has already done her part and she’s done a great job! Whether you choose to do a freedom walk with some shared accommodation, the prime package for those not wanting to skip the luxuries or a fully guided tour, there is something for everyone.
For more information on booking the track, click here
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