If you’re among the growing number of travellers who are looking to escape the usual tourist route for a subtler but more genuine Kiwi experience, you’ll be on the right track when you head for the Karamea region, at the top of the South Island’s West Coast.
Enveloped by the mountains of Kahurangi National Park and sealed in by the Tasman Sea to the west, Karamea is a geographical island paradise with a wealth of natural beauty just 100 kilometres up the coast from Westport.
The road to Karamea is one of the most beautiful drives in the world and affords stunning views of the Tasman coast, river valleys, verdant forest and jagged mountain ranges. The journey takes you north from Westport, through the charming seaside villages of Granity and Hector and across the Mohikuniui River before heading up into the densely forested mountains of the Kahurangi National Park.
You’ll pass ancient tree giants, beneath majestic tree ferns and go high over the Karamea Bluff (stop your car, check out the view of the Tasman from the mountain top and listen to the symphony of birdsong) before dropping into the broad alluvial coastal plain at Little Wanganui. You’ll pass happily grazing dairy herds on lush green pasture, the expansive Otumahana Lagoon and over the mighty Karamea River before arriving in the beautiful hamlet of Karamea…getting there is just the beginning of your adventure.
The Karamea region remains a peaceful natural enclave of forest, sea and sky – you’ll love what they haven’t done to the place! as well as fishing, surfing or bird watching at the Karamea River estuary. For those interested in the latter, black swans, egrets, ducks, pukeko, oystercatchers, herons, gulls and hundreds of other birds congregate at the estuary. Tuis, wood pigeons and bellbirds will wake you in the morning with their dawn chorus and there is a vast stretch of sandy beach where you might stroll along all day without encountering a soul except perhaps your own!
If a round of golf is your thing, don’t forget to bring your clubs and try out the decent nine-hole course right next to the beach. With a little imagination, the Tasman’s roaring surf could easily be the crowd at St. Andrews!
On the drive back, tune in to the Karamea Radio, which broadcasts 24/7 on 107.5 FM. You’ll hear an eclectic mix of music, humour, debate and social commentary.
|Karamea Information Resources|
|Karamea Information Centre||Phone: +64 3 782 6652
|Oparara Guided Tours||Phone: 03 782 6652
|Karamea Community Website||Karamea.org.nz|
Featured Accommodation Providers
Carters by the sea is situated overlooking sandy Carters Beach, 5 minutes from Westport. Relax and unwind in luxurious modern surroundings and a beautiful garden setting. All 10 studio rooms have free wifi. Carters beach is a great swimming beach close to Tauranga Bay. There is a beach bar/restaurant next door.
Somerset House, Collingwood, Golden Bay base for Heaphy Track Trampers. Transport service to and from Brown Hut available, comfortable BBH accommodation, Free breakfast, BBQ, Zenbu Wi-Fi Hotspot.
Zatori is a brand new multi facility lodge sitting on the edge of Collingwood lnlet with sensational views, numerous room options from luxury B&B to shared facilities. Free wifi throughout both wings, fully liquor licensed with extensive boutique wine & beer menu. Big log fire & really comfortable lounges with massive every changing views.
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