Heaphy Track Weather Guide for Hikers

By Ziggy Dukes

3 minute read

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The Heaphy Track is the longest of the 10 Great Walks of New Zealand, located in the stunning Kahurangi National Park.

It’s a glorious 78.4km (48.7 miles) masterpiece of coastal views, nīkau palm groves, tussock downs, and beech forest.

At one end of the track, as sunshine filters through towering nīkau palms, you’ll feel like you’re on a tropical island. On other parts of the track when rain brings out the vibrancy of moss-covered beech forest, it’s like you’ve stepped into a fairytale. Whatever the weather, the Heaphy Track is a master of magic moments!

New Zealand weather can be changeable - sometimes like four seasons in one day - so you’re likely to experience it all. To help you decide what time of year suits you best, we’ve put together a quick weather guide, enjoy!

6. Nydia Track bush

Peak season weather (Late October to April)

The hottest months are at the height of New Zealand summer - January and February - which are also the busiest for New Zealand Great Walks. During this time, average daily high temperatures remain between 21°C (70°F) and 23°C (73°F) and lows between 10°C (50°F) and 11°C (52°F).

However, the rain can still find you! Even in the warmer months, it rains at least one week out of the month, so always come prepared with your rain gear AND your camera, for the beautiful vibrant moss beds!

If you prefer a slightly quieter walk and don’t mind a higher chance of changeable weather, try the spring months (late October and November).

Off-peak season (May to October)

Heaphy Track is open year-round, so it’s possible to hike it in winter too, AND an added bonus is: the sandflies are on holiday!

Unlike other Great Walks which cross Alpine environments, the Heaphy Track is a little easier to tackle in winter conditions, though the temperatures will drop and the chance of rain increases.

July is on average the coldest month with a crisp daily high of 13°C (55°F) and a chilly daily low of 1°C (34°F). During this time daylight hours are significantly reduced to between 9 and 10 hours, so, less time to soak in the sights, although more time to spot the track’s carnivorous snails (which only come out at night to hunt worms).

During other off peak months (May, June, August and September) daily highs hover at around 14-16°C (57-61°F) and lows at about 2-4°C (36-39°F).

native forest along hollyford track new zealand2

What to bring for weather conditions

For the best tips on how to pack, check out our comprehensive packing guide, for a quick list, see below. No matter the weather, ALWAYS pack your raincoat, especially on the West Coast!

For summer, your key items are sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and water.

For cooler months, stock up on those mid and base layers. Hot tip: rainproof overtrousers are an absolute GAME CHANGER!

The basics:

  • Waterproof and windproof raincoat and overtrousers
  • Hiking boots (firm, comfortable, waterproof)
  • Shirt (wool or polypropylene)
  • Socks (wool or polypropylene)
  • Quick-dry shorts
  • Under layers, top and bottom (wool or polypropylene)
  • Mid-layers (wool or polar fleece)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Personal locator beacon

Heaphy Track is celebrated as one of New Zealand’s most diverse Great Walks. Similarly to all Great Walks, Heaphy Track has so much to offer in any season.

If you are going to tackle it in the off-season, just be extra vigilant, keep warm and always check the weather - NIWA is an awesome source of information on track conditions.

If you’re short on time and want to squeeze in as many of New Zealand’s Great Walks as you can, our Great Walks Adventure is a wonderful tasting platter of New Zealand’s best hikes. You’ll get great company and all the details taken care of, all you need to do is walk! 

If you'd like to find out more about our epic trips request a copy of your free brochure HERE! 


Let’s talk – we’d love to hear what you think. Pop your details in below and have your say.

  • Richard Longbottom, New Zealand January 2023

    Like to know options for me and my two adult daughters for staying in various accommodation and having meals provided

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