The North West Circuit offers 9-11 days of advanced tramping adventure around Stewart Island’s northern coast. This challenging 125km loop rewards for the fit and well-equipped with sweeping beaches, rocky headlands, abundant birdlife and stunning scenery. Track surfaces are varied and involve long sections of mud that can be knee-deep and thick, regardless of the season. Some sections of track are prone to flooding.
There are 10 comfortable huts conveniently dotted along the track, including two Great Walk huts, North Arm Hut and Port William Hut, and two Great Walk campsites at Maori Beach and North Arm.
A highlight of the circuit is the remote and beautiful Mason Bay, the site of a nationally important sand dune system. Near the bay, Island Hill was the site of the island's last major farm, which was used from 1879 to 1987. Now a historic site, the farm's homestead was built in 1884 by William Walker. In 1930 the government built a road from Mason Bay to Freshwater River.
For those not wanting to undertake the multi-day tramp, it is possible to fly onto Mason Bay beach (tide dependent) and then complete the easy walk through to Freshwater River where you can be transported back to Oban via pre-arranged water taxi. This section of the circuit is mostly flat, through tussock and manuka, with boardwalks over the extensive wetlands, providing a contrast to the more difficult terrain of the rest of the track.
Stewart Island’s highest point, Mount Anglem (Hananui) can be reached on a 6 hour return side trip from Christmas Village Hut. Rakeahua Valley and Doughboy Bay can also be added to the North West Circuit.
Please Note: Keep to the tracks as valleys are steep and the bush is dense. Beach access can be difficult when tides are high and seas are rough - if necessary, wait for low tide.
- Natural Attraction
- Outdoor Activities
- Sport & Recreation
- Scenic Photo Point
- Scenic Attraction
- Walking & Tramping
- Sport & Outdoor