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The Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track is located at south-eastern end of the Fjordland National Park. The private Track is run by the community of the Tuatapere Hump Track Charitable Trust. The trust, is set up by the residents of nearby Tuatapere and should help the town to recover from the closure of the timber industry. The Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track is a 55 km long circuit tramp with 2 overnight stays at Okaka (1st day) and Port Craig Hut (2nd day).
The track runs mainly through the Fjordland national park, some parts, however run through privately owned land. The tracks has different facets. It combines beach and bush tracks. Starting with beech forests at sea level you are passing at least 5 diffent vegetation zones on your way to the top of the Hump Ridge.
On the other hand it also combines great outdoor experience with the cultural history of this area. You will get 360 degree panoramic views over to Stewart Island and the Southern Fjordland as well as viaducts, old tramlines and lonesome settlements which are a testimonial of better economical times.

Bookings, which easily can be done over the web pape, are necessary to guarantee hut accommodation. If your booking has been confirmed you are asked to pickup the hut passes the day before you start the track.
Beside the normal freedom walk you can order some luxury for your time on the track. It is possible to book hot showers, Helipacking, a guide or a premium room. Additionally it is possible to buy food and cold beer / wine on the huts.
Currenty (12/2008) the fee for the Track Transport is 20 NZD/person. Track Transport is from Tuatapere to the start of the track at Rarakau. It is worth spending this money because the road to the Rarakau Farm car park at the Bluecliff Beach was washed out and can not be used. The company which runs the track uses the road with a 4 wheel drive anyways which saves you 1 extra hour of walking.

I did this track between the 11/21/2008 and 11/23/2008. 3 days without any rain. Despite this fact some parts of the track, especially on the second day are really muddy. This can for sure be even worse in case of rain. Boardwalks are present on the muddies parts of the track and protects you and the fragile vegetation.
The first day is 18 km long and with up to 10 hours walking time the longest and most challenging day.
Day 1: Rarakau to Okaka Hut:

The first part of the track on the first day goes along the shoreline. The magnificent Bluecliffe beach, 3 swing bridges and some fishermens huts near Waikoau river are on the way before the tracks leaves the shoreline.
The Hump Ridge track shares this first part (as well as some parts of the 2nd and 3th day) of coastal walking with the South Coast track. The South Cost Track is managed by the Departement of Conservation and follows the shoreline to Big River.
The second part of the first day is a steep 1000m climp up to the Hump Ridge. It goes through the bush and over boardwalk. At a further bridge called water bridge you can refill you water supplies with cold, fresh, yummy water. You should use this opportunity because it is the last chance before the steepest part of the whole track.
Something i never saw before on tracks in New Zealand are two fixed toillets in the bush. One close to water bridge (frist day) the second at Luncheon Rock (2nd day). Another luxury of the private track.

If you reach Stag Point the hardest part of the track with about 4 hours steadily climbing is done. From here (you can see the hut already) you need one more hour till you reach Okaka Hut. The Okaka Hut is placed on a beautiful spot close to the Summit of Hump Ridge and is one of the best equipped huts i ever saw on tracks in New Zealand. If you like you can again benefit from the luxury of a private track.
Something which I definitely recommend is the Summit Loop Track a little bit further up the ridge. The loop normally takes approximately 1 hr. In fact we have spend about two hours there to enjoy the awesome spots to the tors & tarns, to Steward island, the Cameron Mountains, back to the coast we had come and the whole Southern Fjordland.
Day 2: Okaka Hut to Port Craig

The second day (18 km) can be devided in 3 different sections. All of them are approximately 2,5 hours walk. The first part of the second day slowly descends along the Hump Ridge to Luncheon Rock. At Luncheon Rock the track starts its 5km long, 600m descent to the South Coast. The change in vegetation is mostly a reverse of our climb up the day before. We learned that 7 different vegetation zones exist. I think we spotted 5 of them. Boardwalk exists at large parts of this section, others without them are really muddy! The last part of the second day goes along the 17 km tramway which ones linked remote logging sites with the timber mill at Port Craig.

Part of this tramway are 3 incredable viaducs which are build from the workers at Port Craig in the 1920's. Edwin Burn, Sandhill Viaduct and Percy Burn viaduct.

Percy Burn viaduct is the largest remaining wooden viaduct in the southern hemispere (36m high, 125m span). Incredibly to see such monumental constructions at this point, right in the middle of nowhere.
Please don't confuse the huts at Port Craig. The DOC operates a hut (the old school house from Port Craig) there as well but you need to go some steps further to the Port Craig hut. As the Okaka Hut the Port Craig hut is well equipt as well! Port Craig was the largest and most technologically advanced timber milling operation in New Zealand between 1916 - 1928 To its heyday Port Craig was home to a community of over 150 bush men and their families. You can discover the rich reminders that tell the storys and history of Port Craig on a heritage trail which starts direct at the Port Greg hut. Part of this trail is the bay with the old warft. The Hut warden told us that Hector dolphins are frequent visitors in the bay. We were lucky and saw some of them. A downer of this remarkable place is that Sandflys are everywhere.
Day 3: Port Craig to Rarakau

The third day (18 km) is a easy tramp along the south coast track. At Te Whata the track offers you two possible routes. An inland route through more forest, and a shoreline route. The shoreline route can only be done safely at low tide. So please follow the advice of the hut warden at Port Craig. If you cross Flat Creek the track should seem familiar to you. It is the same way you walked on the first day. It is really great to walk over these beautiful, uncrowded beaches with all the little streams running over the beach, the mussels, the fossiliferous rocks and to observe the various seabirds. Don't forget to look back to the Hump ridge before you finally leave the beach.
The 55 km long Hump Ridge track is a great although not simple track. Particularly the first day is because of its length (about 10h) and the 1000m climb really challenging. The gigantic views and the variety of the hiked through landscapes compensates however more than enough for the efforts. I can definitely recommend this track to everyone with good physical condition who is not afraid of some mud. I had a great time on the track. Thanks to all the people I met there.

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