NZ's most remote place is in the deep south

Resolution Island in Dusky Sound. Photo: ODT file
Resolution Island in Dusky Sound. Photo: ODT file

Where do you go in New Zealand to be farthest away from civilisation?

Would it be to the far reaches of the North Island's sparsely populated East Coast, at the end of a gravel road?

Or would it be in the backblocks of the Ureweras? Or possibly the bottom tip of Stewart Island?

A software engineer took it upon himself to work out which exact spot was the most remote on New Zealand's 270,000 sq km of land.

The most remote spot in New Zealand is in Fiordland National Park, about 30km from the nearest DOC hut. Image: James Allan via NZ  Herald
The most remote spot in New Zealand is in Fiordland National Park, about 30km from the nearest DOC hut. Image: James Allan via NZ Herald

It came after a similar exercise in Denmark, where a data analyst found what he called a "solitude spot", which was 4.4 kilometres from the nearest building.

Hamish Campbell, a software engineer who works at Koordinates in Auckland, said he used a range of open-source data tools to pinpoint the place which was farthest from any structure, including far-flung conservation huts.

He started by using a Land Information NZ map which showed the location of every building in the country – 653,358 in total.

That quickly narrowed his search to Fiordland, on the south-western edge of the South Island.

After a bit of digital wizardry, he found what he believed to be New Zealand's most remote spot. It is the south end of a bay which the Coal River empties into, and is south of Doubtful Sound.

According to Department of Conservation (DOC) maps, it does not have a name.

The closest building is a DOC hut 29.8km away, at Supper Cove. That makes it far more remote than the Denmark spot.

The hut is the farthest point of an advanced walking track which DOC says would take four or five days to reach. A boat ride is needed to get to the start of either end of the track.

Campbell estimated that without a helicopter or boat, a tramper would face another 40km hike from the hut to get to the most remote spot.

It also might not be the most idyllic location. A 3D image pulled from Google Earth appears to show a densely forested slope plunging into the Tasman Sea.

Campbell said it was a "back of the napkin" estimate, and he would welcome further analysis by others.

A geography visualisation expert from Germany posted on Twitter that he thought it was a different spot, also on the South Island's West Coast.

He estimated it would take an hour or two's drive from Westport.

Comments

Would you please stop telling people about it! If you tell them, they will want to go there . . .