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Pearl Harbour to Back Valley Hut

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Once you have made your way to the other side of the Waiau River from nearly Harbour (either by way of water taxi, kayak or private boat), follow the way up the river towards Lake Manapouri. The first 15 minutes of the track are along the lake.

When you reach the junction with the Circle Track, continue straight until you reach the next junction with Hope Arm. There is a track from Back Valley Hut to Hope Arm Hut, so it is common to do this as a loop track.

If you are only doing the Back Valley route, follow the track leading left. The track leads through beech and podocarp forest and a stand of ribbonwood. It then open up onto some small clearings, where the Back Valley Hut is situated.

If you have some time to spare, there is also a side track from here. You can reach Lake Rakatu in about an hour, the whole detour taking less than 2 hours. Many people come here to fish for the day before heading back into town or spending the night at Back Valley Hut.

Return to Pearl Harbour the same way or complete the loop with Hope Arm Hut.

Quick Facts

        • Location: Manapouri, South Island, New Zealand
        • Time needed: 4-5 hour walk
        • Distance: 7.8 km
        • Difficulty: Hard
        • Bikes allowed: Unknown
        • Route: Return
        • Elevation: 50 m
        • Wet Feet: The track can be very muddy.
        • Toilets: There are toilets at Back Valley Hut.
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: Unknown
        • Last Updated: May, 2020
  • Track Highlights

    This track leads through beech forest. There is also a side trip to Lake Rakatu.

  • Track Quality

    The track consists of natural ground, so expect to walk over tree roots and some muddy terrain.

  • Hazards


  • 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

    Yes, there are 4 bunk beds at Back Valley Hut. Camping is also allowed nearby.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

Map of Pearl Harbour to Back Valley Hut

Here is the map for Pearl Harbour to Back Valley Hut 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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