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BUG New Zealand travel guidebook

Destination guides > Pacific Islands > New Zealand > Southland > Tuatapere & the Hump Ridge Track

Tuatapere & the Hump Ridge Track

This small town on State Highway 95 calls itself the “Sausage Capital of New Zealand”, however the town’s proximity to the spectacular Hump Ridge Track is the main reason most travellers come here. It is a modest and slightly run down old town, with little in the way of attractions other than a few good jet boating excursions. These, coupled with the relatively recent opening of the Hump Ridge Track, have sparked some interest in the area among backpackers.

Practical information

Hump Ridge Track Visitor Centre

State Highway 95, Tuatapere
Tel (03) 226 6739 or 0800 486 774
Website www.humpridgetrack.co.nz
Open 8.30am-6pm daily

Coming & going

TrackNet (tel (03) 249 7777) stop in Tuatapere en route between Invercargill and Te Anau.

Hostel accommodation

There are a couple of backpackers’ hostels in Tuatapere plus two huts on the Hump Ridge Track.

Five Mountains Holiday Park (Hump Track Backpackers)

Corner Halfmile & Clifden Roads, Tuatapere
Tel (03) 226 6667

Shooters Backpackers

73 Main Street, Tuatapere
Tel (03) 226 6250


Jet boating

The Hump Ridge Jet (tel (03) 225 8174 or 0800 270 556) run jet boating trips on the Wairaurahiri River. This is a lot longer than the average jet boat ride with full-day trips ($180-200) that jet across Lake Hauraoko and then down 27km of grade three rapids on the Wairaurahiri River. The trip includes three to four hours in the jet boat.



The Hump Ridge Track (53km, 3 days) is the country’s best privately run hiking track. It starts and finishes at Blue Cliffs Beach, a 20-minute drive from Tuatapere, and follows the Hump Ridge, returning along the coast. It is an excellent walk that features some very impressive bridges including the Percy Burns Viaduct (the world’s largest wooden viaduct).
The huts are of a very high standard. In summer it costs $90 for hut accommodation and transfers to and from the trailhead.

It is similar to the Kepler Track and is moderately difficult with some challenging sections and steep climbs on the first day. It involves a lot of walking – around 18km each day.
Refer to the track’s website for further information.

Bluecliffs Beach to Okaka Hut (18km, 7-9 hours)

The track follows the coast for a few kilometres before cutting inland to Flat Creek. Then it’s a steep climb to Okaka Hut on Hump Ridge.

Okaka Hut to Port Craig Village (18km, 7-9 hours)

This section of the track passes several of the towering wooden viaducts, for which the Hump Ridge Track is famous, including the Edwin and Percy Burn Viaducts.

Port Craig Village to Bluecliffs Beach (17km, 5-7 hours)

The walk back to Bluecliffs Beach passes through rimu forest, but for the most part is a coastal walk past rock pools and sandy beaches.

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