Karamea is a secluded haven, snuggled into the warm northwest corner of the South Island. Long empty beaches, river estuaries, incredible granite and limestone formations as well as tamarillos and fruit trees growing happily alongside Nikau Palms.
It's a great place for those seeking to "get off the beaten track". But don't worry, there are still plenty of services including a general store, supermarket and service station and options.
The first true settlement of the area took place in 1874 when the (then) fine harbour and sea provided the only means of contact with the outside world. Farming, timber, flax and gold provided a means of living but in 1929 the Murchison earthquake caused the silting up of the harbour and cut the community’s road link for about two years.
The Karamea Centennial Museum holds an excellent archival and photographic record of Karamea's early history. The Fenian Track to Adams Flat is an interesting historic track in Karamea.
Natural attractions in Karmea
The area of Karamea borders Kahurangi National Park and is a natural wonderland with caving, birdwatching, mountain biking, fishing and hunting, kayaking and rafting opportunities.
There are many short walks near Karamea including the Nikau Walk and Scotts Beach Walk which highlight the natural bush and coastal features of Karamea.
The Heaphy Track is the perfect pick for families or those new to tramping. It starts or finishes at Kohaihai, 16km north of Karamea. From May to September the Heaphy is also open to mountain biking.
Other trails including the Wangapeka and Karamea-Leslie Tracks are popular too. There are guided walks and kayaking into the Oparara Arch and Cave and the Honeycomb Hill Caves from Karamea. You feel like you have entered another world when you visit – it is beauty born of a million years of isolation.