Blogs from Kahurangi National Park, South Island, New Zealand, Oceania


We awoke to another absolute cracker day in Karamea and the sound of the two milk tankers on the nearby SH67 that travel 234km each way every day to and from Hokitika on SH6 and SH67 to pick up milk from the 29 dairy farms in the Karamea region. Actually the tankers don’t really make much noise it is just that with so little traffic coming and going into Karamea that there is no competition for road noise from other traffic on the road. We have three planned walks today in the local Karamea area with no drives into the forest like yesterday among them. There appears to be only one other guest staying in the 8 unit motel and they appear to be in Karamea helping a dairy farmer out with milking from what we ... read more
A few relics of a jetty in what used to be Karamea harbour
Karamea Estuary
The Karamea River nears the ocean with South Terrace,first European settlemnt, in background

Gosh, have we been so lucky on this holiday as except for the overcast days in Golden Bay it has virtually been sunny every day and we are now well into week 3 of the trip. You would think that with the sun shining the way it is outside that we would be up and about early and getting in a couple of planned forest walks. But with everything we wanted to do close by we indulged with a little bit more of bed time with the curtains pulled open of course so we could enjoy all that sunshine. With breakfast eventually out of the way and the motel proprietor taking over the clothes washing duties using their household machine as the motel one needed fixing, we set off north up SH67 prepared for a few ... read more
Very large punga
Tea coloured Oparara River
Reflections at the Tarn

Now that we were preparing to move on from Takaka the sun was coming out in full force! This morning was the earliest we had arisen for several days but we knew we had a good distance to cover to our next destination at Karamea. With a full tank of petrol we headed along the fertile Takaka Valley to East Takaka which is sited at the foot of the hill road and then started the steady rise to the top of the hill and at 791 metres above sea level the road features in the website ‘Dangerous Roads ‘although it doesn’t seem to have any other warnings except that there are 257 corners to negotiate with some hairpins being almost 320 degrees. It didn’t bother us and the only regret we had having tackled the road ... read more
Upper Buller Gorge,pretty much like this all day with hardly a car in sight
North from Westport approaching Granity

C&M were heading back to Richmond today and we are moving to a slightly smaller Air BnB closer to Takaka for a further three nights. With breakfast finished C&M said their goodbyes after packing their car in the light rain falling. We are hopeful that the rain isn’t an omen of what is predicted in the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne areas as the weather system there appears somehow to be connected to the overcast skies here in Golden Bay. We had a bit more time up our sleeves so were able to casually pack our luggage into the Corolla at a leisurely pace and then headed a short distance north to Pakawau where we turned left and headed towards the west coast. The road was sealed for a couple of kilometres but we knew this ... read more
Pataraun River
One of the numerous bridges and causeways

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Kahurangi National Park September 28th 2020

There was more wind and rain along with a measure of thunder during the night and it didn’t appear as though there was going to be any moderation of the weather during the day. However we had come to the Buller with a plan in mind and a bit of a wild ‘weather bomb’ wasn’t going to put us off. To set ourselves up for the assault on the first hour or 3.9km of the Heaphy Track,one of New Zealand’s Great Walks we had to drive to Karamea some 90km north of Westport. The suggested time to walk the 7.8km round journey from the car park at the start of the track to Scott’s Beach and back was around 2 hours and with the trail described as easy to moderate it looked like that could be ... read more
The hikers(minus me) ready for the track
Two hours return to Scott's Beach....we shall see
The swing bridge in relative calm conditions at the start of the hike

Hi again I am typing this from the common room at Murchison Motorhome Park on Day 3 of my South Island adventure. So far it has surpassed all expectations and, to be honest, I am really tired! I will probably take it real easy today and go and fish in the nearby river rather than exploring further. We shall see. Anyway... on with the blog! Yesterday was an amazing day! I got up early as it had rained pretty heavily in the night and I needed to check that the FoxWing had done it's job. I was impressed. Very. As you can see from the photos, the wing had not only been utterly drenched in the night, but also the debris of falling twigs and leaves and bird poo was on it. And it was wet. ... read more

After witnessing our first brilliant West Coast sunset at Gillespie's Beach, Linda and I woke the next morning (Thursday 2nd March) and weren't at all surprised to find the mountains just inland from the coast covered in clouds... while we soon found ourselves covered in sandflies, yet again! But after cursing our way through a hurried breakfast, we were soon to hit the road when suddenly the clouds parted to reveal the highest peaks in New Zealand in all their snow-bound glory – from Torres Peak (3114m) on the right to Mount Tasman (3498m) on the left; while in the middle was the highest peak of all: Aoraki / Mount Cook, with it's summit piercing the sky an astonishing 3748m above sea level (about 3745m above where we were standing!). Unfortunately though this would turn out ... read more
River of Ice
Glacially-carved Valley
Lakeside Campsite

"Oughhhhhh." I exhaled in unrelenting disgust. "It smells like a dead body..." I plopped my pack down on the nearby picnic table and vigorously scanned my surroundings. The open area was the length and shape of a skating rink. A brush line of palms, rata trees, and ferns rimmed a grassy lawn so immaculate any suburban homeowner would kill for. The Heaphy Hut stood on the far side of this manmade carpet like an image from a realty poster. "It probably is," Agathe responded in her French accent, thoroughly engrossed in the wooden informational board overlooking the mouth of the Heaphy River. After a pause, she peered into the heavy brush to her right as if expecting to find the rotting corpse of a fellow tramper. Determined to find the source of the smell, my eyes ... read more
Bridge Crossing
Start of the Heaphy
Scott's Beach

Two nights in Kahurangi are, somehow, already in the past. Before the first night there were four hours of hiking in the afternoon heat past Flora hut, a number of shelters, streams, and waterfalls to an empty Salisbury Lodge. Then a hike up to the Tablelands summit (if a tableland (plateau) can be said to have a summit) and then back to complete the a hike round the bizarre landscape of the potholes - strange depressions where the landscape seems to be feeling the weak force of gravity a bit more than most. I have the luxury of having the (large) hut to myself again. Before the second night there is a big day. Leaving the hut an hour later than planned, I'm on the trail by 9am. An hour of slow trudging gets me through ... read more

A bad night's sleep (I won't bore you with the long list of aching body parts that made it so) leads to a slow start in the morning. Coffee and some cereal-style-nibbles see me off to the hour-long hike down. I leave my French friends to visit the lakes again before heading down - according to the forecast, the rain is not "due" until 1-2pm. I'm back at the car by 10:30am and on the road by 11. As I reach the ridge above and pause again, the repeat photo I take is somewhat different. A thick veil of rain is making its way down the valley and is already over the hut I left a few hours ago. As I wind my way down the long road out, the rain catches up with me a ... read more

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