Kahurangi National Park, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Scotts Beach to Kohaihai

3km (One hour walk)

A stunning section of the Heaphy Track and a popular day walk from the Karamea end of the track. Scotts Beach is a spectacular sandy cove enveloped by steep cliffs covered in dense rainforest. Majestic nikau palms emerge from the forest canopy and bring tropical character to the bush. The beach features a huge rock that must have tumbled out of the bush and rolled onto the beach where is stands today, in staunch resistance to the relentless punishment of rain, wind, waves and drifting sand.

The sandflies are very friendly at Scotts Beach, so insect repellant and appropriate clothing is recommended. Swimming here is not advisable as the beach is very steep and the undertow, currents and rips strong.

For a good impression of the Heaphy Track without walking the whole way, the short walk from Kohaihai to the Scotts Hill Lookout is recommended. The walk starts at the Kohaihai Shelter and follows the Heaphy Track over the Kohaihai River swing bridge and then mostly zig-zags uphill through nikau groves and rainforest. The lookout is about 35 minutes into the track and affords clear view of the West Coast from Scotts Beach north toward the Heaphy Hut. From here, you can decide whether you want to continue to Scotts Beach or beyond. Don’t forget to take your camera as the view is fantastic.

For trampers and mountain bikers looking for transport to a hot shower, a cold beer and a comfortable bed in Karamea, there is a free phone in the Kohaihai Shelter. Call Karamea Connections on 7826-767 or 7826-838 for a pick up.

The Kohaihai River is great for safe swimming. Please swim in the river as the sea is very dangerous and there are strong currents, rips and undertows.

The Kohaihai is a sandfly hot spot, so please bring sandfly repellent to deter the friendly critters from dining on your haemoglobin.

The section of the track near Koura (Crayfish) Point between Kohaihai and Heaphy Hut can be dangerous at high tide, so please check tide times and plan your trip to ensure you are not crossing this section at two hours either side of high tide. Printable High Tide Tables are available for download from the Department of Conservation.

Mountainbiker on the Heaphy Track (Photo by Stephen Roberts)
Mountainbiker on the Heaphy Track (Photo by Stephen Roberts)
View & Download Printable Topographic Map

Related: Scotts Beach Campsite | Kohaihai Shelter & Campsite | Day Tramping

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