Running the Rakiura Track

The Rakiura Track is located on Stewart Island which is an Island on the bottom of South Island of New Zealand. For most of you who live in NZ you can get to Stewart Island via a 20min flight from Invercargill or catching the daily ferry from Bluff which takes about 1hr to cross the Ferneux strait.

The Rakiura Track is about 32km in length and is classed as one of the Great Walks. The official DoC (Department of Conservation) literature outlines the track as a 3 day tramp (walk) with 2 huts available for overnight stay. After looking at the track profile & having a chat with the DoC official in Oban township of Stewart Island I decided that I’ll give it a crack to complete the full circuit in a day by running it.

For this run I decided to carry about 1litre of water in my Camelbak & a bottle of electrolytes, 2 mars bars (prefer these over gels on long runs) and some nuts for the trail.
I set off on Friday 28th December from Oban Township at 8:30am heading to the track starting point. You have to run about 5km on road to get to Lee Bay where the track officially starts. It was a great morning and already it was a bit warm.

From Lee bay you go through an arch (which represents an anchor) and its pretty undulating track for about another 4-5kms until you come to Maori beach (camp site) which you can run along in low tide. Then there is a bit of slight climb (nothing hard) and the track undulates through bush with the beach below. After another 3kms or so you come to the turn off to Port William hut. I continued on since I wasn’t planning on staying overnight.

Rakiura Track

Rakiura Track

The next bit of the track is a bit tricky to run with uneven surface and tree roots and a bit of mud. I could see that if it rained that progress will get slow as it was a bit slippery underfoot even with no rain and the mud sticks to your shoes.

Around the 15km mark there is a steady climb before descending to the North Arm Hut. From the turn off to the North Arm hut the track is quite undulating and crosses a few bridges and creeks. All in all I was feeling very good and have been running/walking about two and a half hours. I surprised a few trampers on their way of course and got the all too familiar “you must be mad” response to me running the track in a day.

The last part of the track is known as the Kaipipi saw mill road which apparently was built for transporting logs to Oban for transporting back to main land.

All in all it was a great run and I managed to get back to Oban in 5hrs 12mins & 36seconds with an average pace of about 9 min per Km including breaks!

Here is my Garmin data for the run.

Rakiura Track Summary

Rakiura Track Summary

Rakiura Track

Rakiura Track Lap Times

Rakiura Track Lap Times

Rakiura Track Elevation Profile

Rakiura Track Elevation Profile

So if you are in Stewart Island I highly recommend the Rakiura Track for a great day of running or walking!

7 thoughts on “Running the Rakiura Track

  1. Pingback: 8 weeks to the Wellington Marathon | 74 running

  2. Your description of the Rakiura Track motivated me to run it while on a family holiday. When I finished the run, I visited the South Sea Hotel where I learned of a tradition. Track runners are meant to take a pint into Half Moon Bay and stand in the water, thigh deep, until the pint is finished. The staff was kind enough to open the bar for me at 10:30 am!

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