Stafford Bay Route
Jackson Bay to Smoothwater River
Time: 45 min
The track climbs steeply until it drops down into the Smoothwater River.
Smoothwater River to Stafford Saddle
Time: 2 hr
A 2 hour walk following the Smoothwater River upstream for about 20 minutes until Kakapo Creek. Here the creek bed is part of the track. After about an hour the track veers to the right of the creek and climbs to the saddle.
Stafford Saddle to Stafford Hut
Time: 2 hr
The 2 hour walk sidles around the hill and drops down into a creek. Follow the creek downstream. It may be easier to follow the ‘true left’ bank until you come out onto flats shortly before the confluence with the Stafford River. Follow the river downstream until markers on the ‘true left’ indicate the track to the hut, which is a short distance away on the left.
Smoothwater River to Stafford Bay via the coast
Time: 4 hr
Important notice: This unmarked route is only possible at low tide and when seas are calm.
If conditions are right the route is passable 2 hours either side of low tide, however a lot of care is necessary due to coastal erosion.
Follow the Smoothwater River downstream for about 30 minutes to Smoothwater Bay. Follow the coastline around to Stafford Bay. One of the most difficult is a few hundred metres past Smoothwater; see comment above about low tide and flat sea. The headlands on either side of Homminy Cove should be crossed following the roughly marked routes across their necks (narrowest part of the headlands).
Alternatively from Smoothwater Bay, follow markers along the Smoothwater River for about 40 minutes where the track leaves the river to return to Jackson Bay Okahu.
Places to stay
Grassy flats nearby are also suitable for camping.
Plan and prepare
You will need a Topomap E37/E38 Cascade and a degree of route finding experience on this track where you will need to make several river and creek crossings.
For track conditions, maps, weather forecasts and more information on the area contact the Haast Visitor Centre.
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