3 Rankers Reviews
This tramp is not for the light-hearted. The island's Southern Circuit Track is regarded as a remote, challenging tramping experience and requires a high level of fitness and good route-finding skills. It can be accessed from the North West Circuit Track or by boat transport on Paterson Inlet. There are several huts along the way as well as a side-trip up to Mt. Rakeahua.
Tracks around the island can be really boggy so preparation is key.
South Island ▷ Stewart Island ▷ Halfmoon Bay
The scenery and wilderness experience was really great. However the DOC description of thos trail is woefully inadequate. We are a couple in our 60's, physically fit, avid hiking/backpacking enthusiast from Alaska. Based on the DOC description we thought the southern circuit would be an appropriate track for us. We started at Fred's camp and from their until Mason Bay beach encountered countless obstacles- endless tree roots, downed trees, water crossings, mud bogs, in short just a very rough unimproved, unmaintained track. We were not mentally or physically prepared for the obstacle course nature of the track. The only other folks we met along the way were young 20- 30-something in age. My husband was ready to be evacuated out by the time we reached Doughboy hut. It took us 1.5 times as long to complete each leg as was reported on the DOC website. Once we got to Mason Bay the track was much better and we ended up getting a water taxi from Fresh Water. I wanted to post this review to alert other older trampers of our experience and the reality of the southern circuit.
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Tough trip for more intrepid adventurers. Can see REAL wilderness, kiwi in wild, expect lots of MUD!!
Water taxi to freshwater landing ($55/p.p. one way), 4 hour walk to Mason Bay, very nice hut, good Kiwi spotting.
Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍