The Karamea area is one of the most photographed locations in New Zealand, so it’s ironic to see so many “For Sale” signs. But as one of the South Island’s more remote locations, I guess it must be tough to make a living here. We love this part of the West Coast Region for it’s untouched awesome beauty… and I mean “awesome” in the true sense of the word.

Oparara Arch walk pungas

We recently stayed in Karamea for one night; a fleeting visit I know, but we enjoyed a stunning late afternoon walk on a beautiful  beach… hey, where else in the world can you get a whole beach to yourself!

karamea Beach

We received the friendliest welcome at the Last Resort Restaurant. My chicken curry and Michael’s pasta was delish! Lovely service by the wait staff – no pretension and keen to ensure a good customer experience.

Next morning we drove our 4WD 10 kms from Karamea, then 14 kms down a gravel road to the car park at the start of the Oparara Arch Track walk. It was freezing! Rugged up with layers of woollen thermals, I resembled a small bear. But wow, the beauty that greeted us!  Say goodbye to my cares for a while and I’ll collect you on the way back… or maybe I won’t.

Oparara Arch Track2

With the frost crackling around us, we entered quickly into a lush, native bush environment:

Oparara Native Bush

There are NO sandflies on the Arches Track at this time of year. In fact the ‘black water’ here ensures there are NO mosquitos on this track at any time of the year!

Oparara Arch Walk with Pam

This is magical New Zealand; a world which is featured in famous movies about hobbits, dwarfs… and a rather tall elf making his way up the steps to the arches…

Oparara Arch Track steps

..to view the rock forms..

Oparara Arch Rock forms

…and me, artfully blocking the arch at the far end to ruin a perfectly good photo!

Oparara Arch Pam on rock

It’s been years since Michael walked the Heaphy Track and he’s keen to revisit Kohaihai, at the Karamea end of the track. So we headed north, parked our car at Kohaihai and walked a short way to view the spectacular groves of Nikau Palms and the beautiful swing bridge.

Heaphy Track Swing Bridge2

We met an English couple who have just completed the 4-day track on their mountain bikes. They were exhilarated after their amazing experience.

The sun has begun to warm our backs, so let’s say goodbye for now and leave Michael to enjoy his moment of bliss!

Heaphy Track Swing Bridge3

Happy travelling! 

4 responses to “Karamea and Oparara Arch Track”

  1. Jan Roberts says:

    It is a truly magic part of the country. We are so blessed with the diversity of our lovely country we are lucky enough to call home. Love how you were rugged up but Michael was still in shorts LOL

  2. GuestNZ says:

    We rely a lot on the local knowledge of people like yourself – invaluable when you’re looking for the hidden places. (Believe me, Michael soon regretted the decision with the shorts).

  3. Siva says:

    Hope we can make this track when we are in the vicinity in Jan2015. I enjoyed your blog. I love nature and beautiful places to photograph.

    • GuestNZ says:

      Hey Siva, good to hear you’re on your way to one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. Karamea and the Oparara Arch Track is a little off the beaten track. Having a 4-wheel drive vehicle is definitely recommended, otherwise you may opt to join a guided tour. Happy travelling.

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