Kahurangi National Park, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Karamea and the Northern West Coast

“Don’t be surprised if everyone waves to you as they pass by in Karamea… It’s that kind of place.”
By Paul Murray

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.

Karamea History

The region’s past includes gold rushes, a flax boom and a huge timber industry. Karamea was once a thriving seaport and has weathered freak storms and earthquakes. Details of these and other historical happenings can be checked out at the local museum.
The Karamea region remains a peaceful natural enclave of forest, sea and sky – you’ll love what they haven’t done to the place!

There’s a wealth of sightseeing opportunities on offer in the Karamea region,
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 Resources
Karamea Information Centre Phone: +64 3 782 6652
E-mail: info@karameainfo.co.nz
Web: www.KarameaInfo.co.nz
Oparara Guided Tours Phone: 03 782 6652
E-mail: info@oparara.co.nz
Web: www.Oparara.co.nz
Karamea Community Website Karamea.org.nz

Featured Accommodation Providers

Carters by the Sea
Carters by the Sea

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.

Address: 27 Marine Parade, Carters Beach, Westport Ph: 03 789 8169 E-mail: info@cartersbythesea.co.nz Web: www.CartersBytheSea.co.nz

Somerset House
Somerset House

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.

Address: Gibbs Road, Collingwood 7073
Ph: (03)524 8624 E-mail: Info@BackpackersCollingwood.co.nz Web: www.BackpackersCollingwood.co.nz

Zatori Retreat
Zatori Retreat

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.

Hosts: Tracey Walker
Address: 2321 Collingwood Hwy, Golden Bay
Ph: (03) 524-8692 E-mail: info@zatori.co.nz Web: www.Zatori.co.nz

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