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Short Walks in Karamea

It is possible to get out into the bush without tramping for hours and there are quite a few options for shorter walks in the Karamea area.

Heaphy Track Walks

There are several short walks suitable for all levels of fitness that are accessible from the DOC Campsite and Picnic Area at the Kohaihai River. Kohaihai is also the start of the Heaphy Track.

Oparara Basin Walks

There are quite a few walks suitable for all levels of fitness in the Oparara Basin. The tracks lead to spectacular arches, a mirror like tarn and several caves.

Walks onto the South Terrace

The South Terrace is a raised area of land to the south of Karamea. The initial township in Karamea was built up here, but it was soon abandoned for the fertile plains. It’s possible to visit the old cemetery there and walk to a couple of spectacular viewpoints of the Karamea valley and surrounding mountains. Access is either on an easy track from the end of the South Terrace Road (on the right on the way out of town, after the campground) or by a steep track (the Zig Zag track) from partway down the Arapito Road (the south bank of the river).

Via Zig Zag Track: 1 hour 30 minutes Return
Via South Terrace Road: 45 minutes Return

Big Rimu Tree Track

The big rimu tree is a huge remnant from the days when this part of the bush was selectively cut – supposedly this tree was too big to log. It is several metres in width and tens of metres in height. The shaded clearing at it’s foot, with a canopy of tree ferns is a very meditative place. Along the track, the Department of Conservation has placed signs providing botanical information about the many different plants and trees there. It is an educational walk. Access to the track and car park is about 5km down the Umere Road (north bank of the river).

Total Time: 1 Hour Return

Karamea Estuary Loop

This track, which allows excellent opportunities for birdwatching can be easily reached on foot from Rongo. Turn left at the Karamea Village Hotel onto Wharf Road, then right onto Ray Street and continue after the road turns into a farm track. At the end of this road is a carpark. On the right is a short track (10 minutes return) that passes by the old wharf and some remnants of tram carts from before an earthquake silted up the harbour in 1935. To the left is a gravel track which follows the estuary round to the banks of the river. Return along the gravel road that follows the riverbank to Wharf Road.

Total Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour

Flagstaff Beach

The wild ocean beach is reached by turning right at the hotel and continuing along the road about 1km. After the bridge, go straight on on the gravel road for about 1.5km to reach a carpark in the sand dunes behind the beach. It is possible to walk a fair distance in either direction along the beach. To the South is the Karamea River mouth where the mighty Karamea River meets the roaring Tasman Sea.