Rakiura Track

The Rakiura Track is a 32km, 2-3 day circuit on Stewart Island, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. Starting / finishing from the only real settlement on the island, the lovely Oban, the track weaves through native bush and follows the coast for sections.

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The track is usually walked in an anticlockwise direction but I chose to go clockwise as Port William Hut is nicer, and more sheltered from the wind than the North Arm Hut, and as I found out this approach saved the best section of the track for last.

Oban has a reputation as a wet place, something to do it with raining 200-250 days of the year, but when I tackled the track in mid September I was welcomed with one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen.

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The first section to North Arm Hut was pleasant enough, if nothing spectacular compared to the other Great Walks.

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The second section was a 13km trudge inland, up and down endless steps, with nothing but mud and bush to look at. The only reward was a beautiful rainbow just before reaching the hut.

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The third and final section hugs the coast closely and provides a few more sights, including the chain link sculpture, which corresponds with a sculpture in Bluff.

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I know others who have done and loved the track but it did little for me, other than getting to explore the delightful Oban. I suspect many wouldn’t have done the track it it wasn’t a Great Walk. It is a great boost to the Stewart Island economy and reason to visit, but isn’t up to the scenic standards set by the others, in my opinion!

Highlights: Some nice coastal views on day one section, loop track from Oban
Lowlights: Day two section is a dull tramp up and down muddy hills with nothing to see other than bush, road sections from Oban to the track were not that long but felt endless
Route taken: One night, stayed at Port William Hut, the track is very doable in two days
Tips: Go clockwise which is opposite to usual route but saves the best bits for the end and Port William Hut is more sheltered than the North Arm Hut

2 thoughts on “Rakiura Track

  1. Pingback: New Zealand Great Walks Ranked | jontynz

  2. Pingback: New Zealand multi-days walks (tramps) ranked | jontynz

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