Surprises await those who venture into the vast limestone country at the extreme north end of the South Island’s West Coast Road.

Karamea is a secluded haven, 100 km north of Westport, which holds the entry key to this magical wilderness. This remote corner of our country is the base for the Kahurangi National Park and the renowned Heaphy Track. Further south at the Little Wanganui River is the start of the beautiful Wangapeka Track.

The township sits on the estuary of the Karamea River at the terminal point of the long Heritage Highway through the West Coast. If anywhere in New Zealand can be said to be ‘off the beaten track’ then this is it. After a two hour drive from Westport you seem to have arrived at the end of the world. However it is the beginning of a natural wonderland of weird limestone formations, caves, arches, sinkholes and disappearing rivers.

Bus Pass New Zealand

Kahurangi National Park is so vast that it embraces a high plateau, fifteen river catchments and a long coastal strip where the mild climate supports large stands of nikau palms and lush rainforest. The Oparara Basin, 45 minutes north of Karamea on a rough road, has the most impressive formations. The Crazy Paving and Box Canyon Caves are accessible from the car park. The Mirror Tarn, Oparara Arch and the Little Arch can all be reached within a 40 minute walk. The Honeycomb Caves are world famous for their moa bone collection, and can be seen on a guided tour. Other local day walks include the first part of the Heaphy Track, Mt. Stormy, and the Fenian Track, which leads to the site of an old goldmining settlement.

The Karamea visitor centre at Market Cross can advise you on recreational activities, including surf casting on the impressive beaches and headlands, river fishing, rafting, kayaking and guided exploration trips. Karamea also has an interesting museum, licensed restaurant and accommodation.

This hidden corner of New Zealand is waiting to be discovered. A place where you can be an amateur speleological explorer or a laid back beachcomber – the choice is yours.

By | 2014-09-08T05:44:00+00:00 September 8th, 2014|South Island Towns|0 Comments

About the Author:

Danny de Hek
Like most people, I have many passions, goals and dreams. As a self made business professional, my focus is helping my clients, associates and friends, build, strengthen and maintain their success. It would be fair to say I am in the full time business of building relationships and feel my purpose and skill is connecting the right people with the right people. My professional work tends to dominate my personal life, to the horror of my partner and business mentor. They both fully support me yet give me the hard truths when I need to hear this. I am always investing in my personal development to have a fulfilled work/life balance. I enjoy Target Shooting, Hiking & Mountain Biking to clear the brain and to take the guilt away when indulging at a quirky cafe for a cooked breakfast or brunch. My passion for travelling has seen me experience the world on many occasions, my next adventure will be doing the Tibet Rail Journey on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway from Lhasa to Golmud as long as they have Wi-Fi aboard ;-) I have many goals I still wish to achieve but am pretty chuffed that I have accomplished so many of these already.

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