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Distance: 16 km
Huts: Stafford Hut
The route requires some navigation skills as parts of it are unmarked and a map should be carried. There are numerous river crossings and at times we were walking straight down the guts of a creek. So this isn't one you want to be doing during or after heavy rain.
The track starts 500m before the fishing community of Jackson Bay which is 50 km's south of the main highway from Haast (as far as you can go south on the West Coast of the South Island). The township has no supplies but there is a mobile fish n chip shop parked up.
Times: Jackson Bay - Stafford Hut: 4 - 5 hours.
Jackson Bay - Smoothwater River: 45 minutes.
River - Stafford Saddle: 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Saddle - Stafford Hut: 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Bay via the coastline: 4 hours
Follow Stafford River downstream for about 10 minutes till you get to Stafford Bay. The track starts of by following a couple of lovely sandy beaches. After a hour or so the coastline becomes increasingly rocky, look out for the markers/bouys as there are shortcuts over a few of the headlands until you get to Homminy Bay. From here on in it gets a bit on the dodgy side, keep a eye on the tide if it is rising and looks like it is almost high tide stay put! Once you get to Smoothwater bay cross Smoothwater River where you can, and follow it till it rejoins the main track.