Waitutu Forest Track

Coastal tracks provided access for early Maori on their way to find pounamo (greenstone) and the track today follows a similar path. The Waitutu Track is a four day all inclusive guided walk starting in Tuatapere.

The Wairaurahiri River winds its way down from Lake Hauroko, where the remains of a Maori princess are said to rest in the clefts of a rock, to the South Coast. Here you explore the stunning Waitutu Forest, the largest piece of untouched native bush in New Zealand, from the comfort of the Waitutu Bush Lodge.

Walking along the old forest tramline connected by a spectacular array of wooden viaducts, the next day takes us to Port Craig Village, once the site of New Zealand's most modern sawmill.

The final leg of the itinerary takes us around Te Waewaea Bay on the south coast track. Through bush and a long beach we reach the end of the road and a shuttle back to Tuatapere and civilisation.

After a good days walking recharge your batteries in our premium rooms at Port Craig and Waitutu Lodge, hot showers, clean sheets and sumptuous meals... those creature comforts you needn't miss.

Features of the Waitutu Track:

  • Follow the old south coast track forged long ago by early Maori
  • Walk through native bush and along southern ocean beaches
  • Across four giant wooden viaducts testament to an era past
  • David Bellamy called the Waitutu the most important forest in the world
  • A moderate level of fitness is required

Departure Dates

From November to April we have regular departures. Other departures are available on request with a minimum of three people or for less than three a surcharge applies. Yes we do operate during the winter... it is actually a great lowland winter track and a nice time to be on the South Coast.

The dates listed below are "Day 1" or the first night in Tuatapere. We depart first thing on "Day 2".

2020 / 2021 Departure Dates
Nov 2020 12th, 28th
Dec 2020 10th
Jan 2021 21st
Feb 2021 25th
Mar 2021 11th, 25th
Apr 2021 8th


Your Guided Walk package includes 3 nights accommodation in a premium room, hot showers, sumptuous meals, jet boat, hut and guiding fees, all equipment and maps. The trips are usually 3 - 5 people with a maximum of six.

Stay in modern bush lodges and jet boat New Zealand's "longest waterfall" from the southern ocean into the heart of Fiordland when you take a guided walk with Kiwi Wilderness Walks on the Waitutu Track.


Per person including GST


Minimum of two people. Prices are ex Tuatapere. Children 10 to 15 subtract NZ$150. We do not recommend the track for children under 10. Prices are valid to 1 November 2020. Please check our booking conditions.

Further Information


Accommodation is based on share twin. That's two singles or one double sharing a room. If you are single and want to stay that way we can arrange single rooms.

In Tuatapere we stay at the Waiau Hotel with twin share and double rooms with ensuite.

Port Craig Village and Waitutu Lodge are modern back country huts featuring gas heating and cooking, solar lighting, flush toilets and drying rooms.

All crockery and cooking equipment are provided and your track guide will even cook you porridge for breakfast! Rooms at are twin single or double with shared toilet facilities. Sorry only twin single rooms are available at Waitutu Lodge. Hot showers are available. All linen is provided. Carry only your own personal items.

A self contained cabin with ensuite and kitchen are available at Port Craig Village as an upgrade option.

Getting There

Tuatapere is 195km from Queenstown, 100km from Te Anau and 86km from Invercargill on the Southern Scenic Route.

There is a public transprot services available from Te Anau on irregular days and we can arrange transport to and from Invercargill. Shuttles to and from Tuatapere are not included in the package. Feel free to contact us to help arrange transfers for you.

Fitness Level

A moderate level of fitness is required. To enjoy your walk you need to be able to walk for 6 – 8 hours over 11 – 16km ( 7 - 10 miles ) each day. We do not go up any serious hills or passes. The track is a mixture of natural tracks, beach and remains of the old tramline. The track can be wet and muddy at times. Track transport is included and helps reduce the walking distance.


Is unpredictable. Extreme conditions can develop at any time. Be prepared for cold and wet weather and have warm waterproof equipment. It makes it even nicer when it is warm and sunny.


We will provide all food, snacks, cooking and kitchen equipment, linen and maps. You provide and carry a backpack, personal and hiking equipment. We have packs and wet weather gear available if required but please advise in advance.

What to Bring

A good pair of comfortable walking boots or shoes is essential. The walking is relatively flat on a mixture of beaches, natural bush tracks and well formed paths. It can be wet and muddy after heavy rain and some people like to use gaiters. You will need to carry only your own personal belongings during the day. For our comprehensive list of things to bring click here.


Posted in: Our Walks