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Getting the Most out of your Nydia Track Adventure

The Nydia Track is a wonderful way for people to explore some of the beautiful Pelorus Sound.  The 27 km trail has been developed by linking historic bridle paths.  It takes visitors through forests, native and pine, scrubland and farmland and provides some spectacular views from the Kaiuma and Duncan Bay saddles.  Like most outdoor adventures, you will get the most out of your visit with a little bit of pre-planning.

How do I get to and from the Nydia Track from Havelock?

The track runs between Kaiuma and Duncan Bays.  Kaiuma Bay is approximately 30 minutes drive from Havelock on unmetalled roads, Duncan Bay is a 60 minute drive on a windy unmetalled road (unsuitable for camper vans).  There is safe parking at both Kaiuma Bay and Duncan Bay.

We recommend starting at the Track at Kaiuma Bay.  There are some easy stream crossings at the Duncan Bay side of the Track, starting at Kaiuma Bay means you can keep your feet dry for almost all of your journey!

We can arrange shuttle transport from Havelock out to the Kaiuma Bay start of the track, and also arrange a return shuttle from Duncan Bay to Havelock.  Prices start at $100 per person (2 people minimum) with a discount for bigger groups (link to info on the website).

If you prefer to start at Duncan Bay, Pelorus Water Taxis have a Saturday van which takes you from Kaiuma Bay at 8.30 am. They also have a car relocation service, where they take you in your care from Kaiuma Bay to Duncan Bay and you can simply collect your car from Kaiuma Bay as you walk past.

If walking in a large group, consider splitting into two groups – one group starts from Kaiuma and one from Duncan Bay – when you meet to stay the night at Nydia Bay remember to swap car keys!

When is the best time to walk the Track?

We recommend visiting in the warmer months of the year.  The track can be slippery in wintery weather.

How long does it take to walk the entire Nydia Track?

We recommend people start off mid-morning from Kaiuma Bay.  Most walkers take approximately 4.5 -5 hours to climb over the Kaiuma Saddle and reach Nydia Bay by mid afternoon.  Then set off the next morning after breakfast to walk another 4 to 5 hours to reach Duncan Bay.

How fit do I need to be?

A reasonable level of fitness is required.  It’s been described as a challenging walk or an easy tramp.  You don’t need to be an expert tramper – it’s a good introduction to tramping and the great outdoors.

The hill paths do not seem particularly steep, but the challenge comes from track surfaces which can be rough, narrow and uneven.  Tree roots grow across the track and require steady balance.  There are some stream crossings where you can either get your boots wet or take the time to remove shoes and socks.

If staying at On the Track Lodge, you can simply carry a daypack with your essentials.  We will provide meals, bedding, towels, soap etc along with hot showers and comfortable beds. Consider staying two nights at the Lodge to allow time for feet and muscles to recover before tackling the second half of the tramp (we have a wonderful outdoor hot tub to soothe muscles!)

Is it suitable for children?

Yes, family groups of walkers often include children from the age of 7. They enjoy exploring the variety in the natural world around them. There is also the option of catching a boat  to or from Nydia Bay and cutting the amount of walking by half.  The Mailboat runs on a Wednesday and they also have the smaller boat ‘The Spirit’ on the other days of the week, advance bookings are recommended.

How crowded is the track compared to other New Zealand tramping trials?

You may see others walking the track, particularly during the summer season but we can guarantee, you will have most of the track to yourself.  The Nydia Track is an undiscovered treasure and quite uncrowded.

Are there toilets on the Track?

There are toilets at Kaiuma and Duncan Bay and at the DOC camp-site in Nydia Bay.

How safe is the Nydia Track?

The Nydia Track is a good tramp for beginners – it’s two sections only take 4-5 hour each.  However, like any outdoor adventure you need to pace yourself, take basic safety precautions, come prepared and in particular, watch you footing on the uneven surface.  It is a good idea to check on the weather forecast before you set out – the track is more challenging in wet conditions.

Do I need a professional guide on the Track?

Guides are available through Walk Pelorus and other guided walking companies.  A guide can certainly provide peace of mind and show you aspects of the walk/environment you might have otherwise missed.  However, most people choose to walk independently.

How can I call for help on the Track?

In the rare case that you or a member of your party requires assistance, please try ringing 111 with your cell phone and the lodge phone number, so we can try to help or send help.

What if I decide tramping isn’t my cup of tea half-way through?

In the unlikely event you or a member of the party decide not to continue with the tramp – you can always stay an extra night at On the Track Lodge to rest and recover and there are options to return to Havelock via Mailboat (depending on the day of the week) or water taxi.

What if I fall in love with the Nydia Track and want to come back with lots of friends?

On the Track Lodge is perfect for big groups.  We can offer exclusive use and the cost of transfers by road or water taxi comes right down with larger numbers – please contact us to discuss.

What ‘hidden treasures’ should I keep an eye out for on the Track?

When you get to the Kaiuma saddle; walk up the rocky path (you might have to chase away a goat or two); from there you can see the Kaikoura ranges. Also keep an eye out for all the different kinds of moss and ferns.

What should I bring in my pack?

We recommend a day pack, hiking boots with good ankle support and grip, or other sturdy footwear,  waterproof jacket, sun hat, warm layers (base, mid, exterior), wool socks, drink bottle, packed lunch and snacks, fully charged mobile phone, personal medication, sunscreen and insect repellent. Optional extra – togs for a swim in the sea at the end!

Food for the Trip

Nothing tastes as good as meals in the great outdoors.  We recommend you BYO lunch and snacks for the first day of the tramp (Havelock itself has some nice bakeries and also a small supermarket).  On the Track Lodge can provide excellent home cooked, tasty dinners and breakfasts, plus a hearty packed lunch for the second day of the tramp.  You can self-cater however this way you don’t have to carry in extra food supplies.

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