The fitter you are the more you will enjoy yourself, so a good level of fitness and strength is necessary.
Find out more about the walk and what is involved;
Day 1, Brown Hut > Perry Saddle, 17.5km
Starting at Brown Hut(opens in new window), you'll head upstream before crossing the bridge over the Brown River.
From here the track gradually climbs to a saddle with beautiful views across the Aorere Valley - on a clear day it is even possible to see the conical peak of Mt Taranaki in the North Island. This is the highest point on the track. The track then dips slightly, leading to Perry Saddle Hut(opens in new window). A deep pool nearby offers a refreshing swim - not for the faint-hearted, but all feelings of fatigue will vanish the moment you hit the cold water.
Day 2, Perry Saddle > Saxon Hut, 12.4km
Today, journey through tussock to Gouland Downs before coming to the quirky 'boot pole' - which wears a variety of old boots, bestowed by hikers over many years.
There is a limestone outcrop where you can explore caves and waterfalls - take a torch and see if you can find a cave spider. You'll then hike through flat tussock country to reach Saxon Hut(opens in new window), nestled at the end of the downs.
Day 3, Saxon Hut > James Mackay Hut, 11.8km
Today's journey winds through more tussock and bush flats, criss-crossed by rivers and various bridges.
Small creeks dissect the landscape and pink granite sparkles and crunches beneath your boots. The James Mackay Hut(opens in new window) sits on an open terrace just above the track. In the distance, both the Tasman Sea and the Heaphy River can be seen from here.
Day 4, James Mackay Hut > Heaphy Hut, 20km
First off today you'll gradually descend towards the Heaphy River, surrounded by a rainforest of kōwhai, cabbage trees and nikau palms.
A detour to see one of New Zealand’s biggest rātā trees is definitely worthwhile. Further up the river you'll come to a huge 148-metre suspension bridge, crossing the water and the river flats. As you follow the track towards the mouth of the river, nikau palms become more common, the sea’s roaring grows louder and in some conditions, small waves can be seen running upriver.
Heaphy Hut(opens in new window) is situated far enough back from the sea to be spared the worst of the winds.
Day 5, Heaphy Hut > Kohaihai Carpark, 16.2km
At the mouth of the Heaphy River water surges out through a narrow gap into the sea. In-coming waves halt the flow and the resulting churning of salt water and fresh water is spectacular.
The majority of today's hike is through forest although there is some beach walking.
You'll soon reach the Scotts Beach clearing which is a great spot to rest before climbing the Kohaihai Saddle and meandering down to the bridge to cross the river. Shortly after crossing the bridge you'll reach the Kohaihai Carpark where there is both shelter and a phone.