Magnificent walks around Karamea

Every day we go on a 2 to 3 hour walk on the beach or to other places around Karamea. As we come to the end of our stay in this most northern part of west coast of the South Island, we thought we’d share some of these beautiful walks with you. Some places are quite, and some have birdsong accompaniment:

Encounter with a Kekeno or New Zealand fur seal

We had this magical encounter on one of our daily 2 to 3 hour walks on the local beach. There are 4 types of seal in NZ and this one is a Kekeno, or New Zealand fur seal. These were once close to extinction but their numbers are now rising. They are known for their pointy noses, long pale whiskers and bodies covered in 2 layers of fur. This one was a bit scuffed up but they generally live 14 – 17 years. Click to enlarge and scroll through:

The Heathy Track

The Heaphy Track is one of a number of famous multi-day walking tracks in New Zealand and it’s just down the road from us! To walk the whole track would take 4 – 5 days and you have to book your overnights in the huts along the way – it gets quite popular in the summers. We did a couple of short walks along the track. The video below and the slides shows the astoundingly beautiful views on the way and the ocean, river and gorgeous camping area just before actually getting on the track. Slide show:

The Nikau Walk track

The Nikau Track is a beautiful half-hour loop at the beginning of the Heaphy and is named for the type of palm tree found here – the only palm endemic to New Zealand. It is the first palm tree forest we’ve walked through. Stunning! Lots of photos, so another slide show.

Scotts beach

Scotts beach is 90-minute hike on the Heaphy – beautiful but lots of sandflies! We tried to have a snack when we arrived but the sandflies were so bad we had to walk around as we ate to avoid them landing on us. We didn’t linger! Slide show:

The Oparara Basin

The Oparara Basin features limestone formations and includes the Oparara Arch, the Moriah Arch and the caves.

The Oparara Arch

The Oparara Arch is the largest stone formation in the southern hemisphere: 718 feet long, 259 feet wide and 141 feet wide. The track is an awesome hour walk roundtrip.

Slide show:

Moria Gate Mirror Tarn Loop

The Moria Gate Mirror Tarn loop is a 90-minute loop track. The Moria Arch is down a steep entrance where you have to hold onto a chain to get into it. The arch is 62 feet high and 141 feet wide. Moria Gate was named in 1984 after the mythical gate to the dark world in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Apparently conservationists involved with opening up the Oparara Valley felt that its magical forms and mysteries paralleled the mythology of the world created by J R R Tolkien. Slide show:

Box Canyon and Crazy Paving Caves

A 5-minute walk leads to the Box Canyon Cave and Crazy Paving Caves. Turn your headlamp off and you’ll find yourself in complete and utter blackness. Box Canyon Cave is a large and deep cave with areas you can walk into or climb, depending on how adventurous you are. Crazy Paving Caves takes it’s name from the clay-like mud that dries into squares. Click to enlarge and scroll through:

The Big Rimu Tree

Rimu trees can grow up to 165 feet. I’m not sure how tall this one was, but it’s pretty tall! They live up to 1,000 years, but most commonly 500 – 600. Nowadays the trees are protected but they were commonly used for furniture and apparently Captain Cook found that rimu together with manuka (tea tree), molasses and yeast brewed a great beer. The Maori used rimu medicinally – the inner bark was pulped to put on burns, the gum was used to stop bleeding, and the leaves were used on sores.  An easy 45-minute walk off Umere Road leads to this tree.

Views of the drive and walk to the Rimu tree, Slide show:

After the walk back from the Rimu tree we stopped again and took this video.

This video was posted on our Facebook page the day after the walk.

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