Kohaihai / Karamea Walks

Walks in the Karamea and Kohaihai area in northern West Coast New Zealand.


Heaphy Track

Time and skill level: 5 days between Karamea and Golden Bay.

New Zealand Great Walk | Easy tramping

Traverses varied and diverse landscapes through coastline, rainforest and alpine grasslands. The longest of the Great Walks, it traverses through Kahurangi National Park.

Heaphy Hut

Pure luxury, this hut was completed in 2014 and is state-of-the-art. Double glazed windows, solar lights, wood stove, the Heaphy Hut is warm, dry and cosy. There are 32 bunks here and a large grassed camping area with room for 20 tents. Overlooking the lagoon where the Heaphy River meets the Tasman Sea, the Heaphy Hut is a perfect place to spend the night, take in a West Coast sunset, enjoy time away from phones, Internet, TV and the rigours of modern life and just be at peace with nature.

Nikau walk

Time: 50 minutes.

Skill level: Easy

Across the Kohaihai River suspension bridge this walk leaves the Heaphy Track to loop through an impressive stand of nikau and northern rata forest.

This is an easily accessible walk for all ages and physical abilities through a stunning grove of iconic West Coast nikau palms. Walk along the Heaphy Track for about 10 minutes, cross the swing bridge over the Kohaihai River and follow the signs.

Click here for more information about Day Tramping & Short Walks on the Heaphy Track

Scotts Beach walk

Time: One hour.

Skill level: Easy

Beautiful short forest walk along some of the Heaphy Track’s coastline. This easily accessible gem of a beach is about 45 minutes into the Heaphy Track from the Kohaihai Shelter. Golden sand, blue sea, crashing waves, densely forested hills, flowering rata and nikau palm groves… Scotts Beach is a fabulous short walk, a good place for a picnic, or for an overnight camp… pure paradise. The sandflies are friendly here, so take some repellent and dress accordingly. Swimming is not advised as the ocean is dangerous and there are strong currents, rips and tides.

Click here for more information about Day Tramping & Short Walks on the Heaphy Track

Oparara Arch

Time: 25 minutes.

Skill level: Easy.

A well-formed track takes you to the southern hemisphere’s biggest limestone arch. Look out for Blue Duck (Whio) on the Oparara River.

Moira Gate Arch walk

Time: 45 minutes.

Skill level: Easy.

A gentle walk that takes you from the main Oparara Valley car park to the picturesque Moria Gate Arch.

Fenian car park to Sunshine Flat

Time: 3.4 hours one way.

Distance: 9.5km.

Skill level: Moderate.

Walk partway up the Fenian Track, branch off at the junction to head up the Valley Track as far as Sunshine Flat Shelter.

Adams Flat

Time: 2 hours one way.

Distance: 7km

Skill level: Easy.

An easy walk up the old heritage bridle track to the clearing. Named after John Adams, an early settler and gold miner.


Time: 1 hour.

Skill level: Easy.

Via the road to the aerodrome, turn left at the junction to go down to the beach, known locally as Flagstaff.

Lake Hanlon

Time: 20 minutes one way.

Skill level: Easy.

20km south of Karamea, a signpost on the highway indicates the short walk to this tranquil and picturesque lake.

South Terrace Zig Zag Track

Time: 60 minutes return.

Skill level: Easy.

Originally used by the early settlers, the track starts 2.5 km up the Arapito side of the Karamea River. It takes you up to the South Terrace with lookouts offering great views of Karamea and the river flats. Continue along the old road line to find the old cemetery used by the first European settlers.

Karamea riverbank and estuary walk

Time: 45 minutes.

Skill level: Easy.

An enjoyable evening stroll beginning behind the Domain. Follow the river down to the mouth. Tide permitting you can view birdlife and return through the estuary walkway, linking up with the end of Ray Street.

Wangapeka Track

Time: 4 days, 3 nights.

Distance: 52km.

The Wangapeka Track traverses the Kahurangi National Park from east to west. Enter the track from either the Little Wanganui settlement or Tapawera.

Mount Stormy Track

Time: 6-8 hours return.

Skill level: Hard, high level of fitness required.

Access to the track is via Arapito Road, about 6km up the Karamea Valley. Permission need from the Karamea Information Centre to pass through private property. This is a steep and winding track with a height of 1084m offering fantastic views of Karamea and the river flats.

Overnight Tramps

Many people also do overnight walks from either end of the Heaphy Track, staying at either the Heaphy Hut or Lewis Hut from the Karamea end (for a gentle, scenic walk and a sublime, possibly romantic overnight stop), or the Perry Saddle Hut from the Collingwood end (a good challenge for those considering a great walk, with an exciting alpine campout and mountain views).

There is a large camping area at the Heaphy Hut with ample space for forty campers, as well as the bunk accommodation inside.


Karamea, New Zealand
Things to See & Do