Oparara Cave

Oparara Cave

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Hidden deep in the silent grottos of Oparara’s Honeycomb Caves are spellbinding limestone sculptures and slender skeletons of extinct creatures like the moa and giant eagle.

But there’s still life in the darkest recesses of this alien world. A glow worm galaxy shimmers on the ceiling of the cave. Clusters of delicate sticky threads lie in wait for unwary sand flies. Terrifying troglodytes scuttle across the dank walls. The giant wetas are ever watchful for intruders, and cave spiders with a 15-cm leg span take purposeful arachnid strides across the cave.

The Oparara Caves can be found at the top of the West Coast road, just beyond Karamea township. They can only be viewed on a guided tour, which can be arranged in Karamea.

An interesting commentary is given while you explore part of the 13 km of passages and view some of the 70 entrances that give the cave its honeycomb title. Some distinctive features of the cave are:- numerous sub fossils and skeletons of creatures that fell through the roof openings over millennia, granite bedrock visible in the streambed under the limestone overlay, lamb’s wool-like cave coral caused by bubbling calcium carbonate crystals and chocolate cake effects from tannin in the luxuriant vegetation outside the cave.

Following the guided tour there is ample scope for further exploration in the Oparara Basin. Professional guides offer river kayak trips to a spectacular rock formation called the Lost Arch. From the car park you can tramp independently to a gigantic limestone bridge, called the Oparara Arch and the striking Moria Gate Arch. Nearby are the wonderfully reflective Mirror Tarn and fascinating Crazy Paving and Box Canyon Caves. The Crazy Paving cave has a cracked mudstone floor that dried out around 10,000 years ago.

Exploring the Oparara Caves is a uniquely fascinating experience in a truly primeval environment. The BBC production of ‘The Lost World’ was partly filmed here.

These rich, unspoiled forests and complex cave systems present a compelling vision of Jurassic times. Don’t miss them!

By | 2016-11-26T18:58:57+00:00 October 7th, 2013|West Coast|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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