East Cape to West Cape - the length of NZ's main divide

  • 125 – 300 days one way
  • Hard

A guide to my route from East Cape to West Cape, the length of NZ's main divide.

West Cape • By madpom. Licence: C.
East Cape to West Cape - the length of NZ's main divide: Key information
Walking time
125 – 300 days
One way
One way
Where do I start - this trip has everything! Grades explained
No bookings — open access
No — open access
East Cape to West Cape - the length of NZ's main divide: Find it
East Cape
West Cape
Sea level – 2,190m
Altitude change 2,190m

This track provides links to route guides for the entire trip based on the route I took, and trip reports for sections that  been written up.

East Cape lighthouse • By madpom. Licence: cc by.


North Island

East Cape to Motu Road - (Raukumaras)

Route guide: Raukumara East-West Traverse



Motu Road to SH2 (Waioeka) - (Urutawas)

Route guide: Urutawa Crossing: Motu Road to Waioeka Gorge


SH2 (Waioeka) to SH38 (Waikaremoana Summit) - (Waioeka / Urewera)
Route guide: A Waioeka - Urewera crossing: Redpaths Road to SH38


SH38 (Waikaremoana Summit) to SH5 (Rangataiki) - Whirinaki
Route guide: A Whirinaki crossing - Waikaremoana Road Summit to Rangitaiki Tavern


SH5 (Rangataiki) to Napier-Taihape Rd at Kurikapango - (Kaimanawa / Kawekas)
Route guide: The Kaweka Main Range - a NS traverse


Kurikapango to SH3 (Woodville ) - (Ruahines)
Route guide (N-S):


Trip report (S-N):

Walking the length of the Ruahines


Woodville to Rimutaka Hill Rd summit (SH2) - Tararuas

Route guide: A Total Tararua Traverse


Rimutaka Hill Rd summit (SH2) - Wellington - (Rimutakas)

And optionally - Haurangis

Route guide (south->north) Haurangi North-South Tarck



South Island

Picton to Okaramio (SH6) - Richmond Ranges (east)

Route Guide:  Route Guide: Richmond Ranges (east)


Okamario to St Arnaud - Richmond Ranges (west)

Route Guide: Route Guide: Richmond Ranges (west) main ridge


St Arnaud to Lewis Pass (Nelson Lakes)

Route Guide: Route Guide: St Arnaud to Lewis Pass


Lewis Pass to Otira

Route guides:


Harper Pass: Harper Pass - Kiwi Saddle


Otira to Mt Cook Village:

Route Guide:

Part 1 - Route Guide: Otira to Mt Cook Village (pt 1)

Part 2 - Route Guide: Otira to Mt Cook Village (pt 2)

Trip reports (parts of trip):

Crossing the Clyde and Havelock - brushes with the Canterbury Death


Mt Cook Village to Makarora:

Route Guide: 



Makaroroa to Aspiring Roadend

Route Guide:



Aspiring roadend to Glenorchy / Paradise:

Trip report:

Matukituki to Paradise by roads less travelled

Route guides:



Glenorchy to The Divide:

Trip report:

Not The Routeburn

Route guide:



The west side of Lake Te Anau from The Divide to the Doubtful Sound road


Milford Road summit (The Divide) to The Glaisnock:

Route guide: http://routeguides.co.nz/trips/40


Glaisnock to Gorge Burn (Te Anau South fiord)


Gorge burn to Wilmot Pass (Doubtful Sound road)



Doubtful Sound road to West Cape

There are two main options - with or without a packraft.

Route with packraft (the one I took):


Tramping only route:

Much of this isn't even in Moir's.  The accepted route seems to be follow the Dusky Track to Lake Roe Hut. Then the route in Moir's to the Dark Cloud Range, then drop into Oho Creek and follow the packraft route above.  This has been done by at least 1other party - though they had to swim across Lake Cove in Edwardson Sound.





ID 10244

About this track

Added 4 June 2014 by madpommadpom. 24 revisions, most recently 3 February 2021 by madpommadpom.
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