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Home  »  South Island Walks  »  Manapouri  »  Circle Track

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This walk starts and ends at the jetty on the other side of Waiau River. You can get to the start of the walk by boat transfer from Pearl Harbour or row yourself. 

On the other side of the river, if you start on the riverside track, you will follow the Waiau River and then along several beaches of the Manapouri Lake. After 15 minutes, you will reach where the track intersected with the Back Valley Track. To continue on the Circle Track, follow the sign indicating to go left.

From this point, the track begins to climb and is entirely forest—excluding the viewpoint itself of course. Robins, tomtits, tūī and bellbirds can be sighted in the mixed beech and podocarp forest. The forest opens when you come out at the ridge overlooking Back Valley. From the viewpoint, you will be able to see Lake Manapouri and the stunning mountains in the distance.

 After the viewpoint, the track follows the ridge line downwards to the Hope Arm Track intersection. Tun right and make your way back to Pearl Harbour.

This track is often done in conjunction with the Hope Arm or Back Valley Hut tracks for longer or overnight options.

Quick Facts

        • Location: Manapouri, South Island, New Zealand
        • Time needed: 3-3.5 hour walk
        • Distance: 6.9 km
        • Difficulty: Medium
        • Bikes allowed: No
        • Route: Loop
        • Elevation: 400 m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: No
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: Unknown
        • Last Updated: May, 2020
  • Track Highlights

    This track offers views over the lake and mountains from a viewpoint. It also takes you along a few beaches.

  • Track Quality

    The track is steep and can be slippery.

  • Hazards

    Slippery terrain

  • Transport


  • Water


  • Driving Instructions

    This track starts and finishes at Pearl Harbour, Manapouri, Fiordland, on the other side of Waiau River. There are water taxis available in the summer season, or row boats can be hired. For options contact: Manapouri Store, phone +64 3 249 661.

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    There are shops and restaurants in Manapouri, the closest being on Waiau St.

  • Area & Track History

    The town and lake were named after Māori legend that the lake was formed from the tears of two daughters of a local chief. Manapouri means “lake of the sorrowing heart” or “lake of the throbbing heart.”

  • Camping & huts on or near the walk

    No camping on this walk

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

Map of Circle Track

Here is the map for Circle Track showing it’s location in New Zealand. You can change the view on the map to satellite if you prefer to see an image of where the walk is instead.

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Contact info

Manapouri 9679, New Zealand

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