Rarakau Car Park, 1304B Papatotara Coast Road, Papatotara

This track of varying difficulty leads along rugged southern coast to Port Craig (7 hours one way, an easy overnight trip) and beyond to the more remote Big River (4 days one way).

The first section of the track is an easy, family-friendly walk to Port Craig School Hut. From the Rarakau carpark, the track follows an old road over several suspension bridges and past beachside baches. Passing the Hump Ridge Track turnoff, the track skirts several beaches and headlands before arriving at the magnificent Blowholes Beach. From here the track climbs over another headland to Breakneck Creek, where it re-enters the forest before arriving at Port Craig.

Port Craig is the site of a sawmilling town which in the 1920s operated the largest and most modern sawmill in the country. The only remaining historic building is the school which is now a Department of Conservation hut. A self-guided heritage trail takes visitors around relics of the town and mill site and interpretive panels. A 5 minute walk takes you down to Mussel Beach where more relics of the sawmilling days are evident. In the bay Hector's dolphins can often be seen and the safe beach provides an opportunity for hardy souls to take a dip in the southern ocean. The Percy Burn viaduct, a 2 hour walk west from Port Craig, is a spectacular site and a pleasant day walk. At 125m long and 36m high, it was the largest of the four wooden viaducts built to carry the tramline taking logs back to the sawmill.

The sections beyond Port Craig to Big River or Teal Bay are tramping tracks and routes, so require good to above average fitness and high level backcountry skills and experience, including navigation and survival skills. Along the whole track conditions can be muddy, and take extremely good care with tides whenever attempting to travel along the coast.

This track also forms part of the Hump Ridge Track.

Venture Southland
Last modified
Tue 16 Feb 2021
  • Activities
  • Natural Attraction
  • Culture & Heritage
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Sightseeing
  • Multi-Day
  • Family Friendly
  • Wildlife Spotting
  • Scenic Photo Point
  • Scenic Attraction
  • Self-Guided
  • Walking & Tramping
  • Sport & Outdoor
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