Step into an ecological wonderland and marvel at the astounding diversity of New Zealand’s second largest national park.
Kahurangi means ‘Treasured Possession’ in Maori, and this park lives up to it’s name. It encompasses much of the north-western South Island, and has landscapes as diverse as high alpine plateaux of red tussock and herb fields, plus some of the deepest limestone caves in the country. Marble outcrops, natural stone arches and New Zealand’s oldest fossils dating back 540 million years, can also be found here.
Exploring the park’s 570 km of tramping tracks is the main attraction. Some of these are formed on ancient Maori greenstone (jade) trails, goldminer’s paths and early European explorer’s routes. The most popular is the Heaphy Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. This 82 km, 4 to 6 day journey takes you from a goldmining valley over mountain peaks and open tussock downs, to luxuriant sub-tropical forests, and along a dramatic coastline. Other well-loved tramps in the area are Wangapeka and Leslie-Karamea Tracks, which penetrate a wilderness area inland from the West Coast. There are also numerous tracks in the Cobb Valley and Mt Arthur Tablelands. Other activities to be enjoyed within the park are rafting and kayaking on remote rivers, fishing in the Karamea River and caving in the extensive limestone regions. Access roads lead into the park from all the main gateway towns; Motueka, Takaka, Karamea and Murchison.
Kahurangi National Park is richly endowed with a great variety of vegetation in its dense forests. Some 50% of all New Zealand plant species can be found here. The park’s highest regions contain 80% of our alpine plant species. This treasure trove of flora is matched by the variety of wildlife. Over 100 different birds are present in the park including rare and threatened species such as the rock wren and great spotted kiwi. Our largest cave spider and twenty types of carnivorous snail also live here.
Be prepared to linger awhile in Kahurangi, as it takes time absorb the diversity of this beautiful place.