A must do in Karamea is to visit the start of the Heaphy Track at Kohaihai and walk along the beautiful West Coast beaches and through spectacular groves of Nikau Palms. There are a number of walks radiating from the DOC campsite at the end of the road.

Short Walks

Scott’s Beach

This follows the route of the Heaphy Track over Kohaihai Bluff and then descends to secluded Scott’s Beach, a strip of golden sand fringed by lush nikau palm forest and towering rata trees, about as close to paradise as it is possible to get in New Zealand. Return by the same route. For a longer hike, popular options are to continue on to Katipo Creek Shelter, (about 4 hours return) or to the Heaphy Hut (about 8 hours return).

Total Time: 1.5 hr return

Nikau Loop

A short, flat walk through groves of nikau palms and podocarp forest along the shore of the Kohaihai River.

Total Time: 20-40 minutes

Zig-Zag Track

A steep track climbing up the bluff above the campground past a series of strategically placed benches, each offering a spectacular view of the Kohaihai River mouth. This is a great location to watch the sun go down into the Tasman Sea.

Total Time: 15-20 minutes each way

Longer Walks

Katipo Creek

Katipo Creek Shelter is about half way to the Heaphy Hut and makes a good destination for a day walk. Past Scott’s Beach the track passes through endless groves of nikau palms and across golden, sandy beaches, crossing several verdant creeks as they drop out of the mountains, one via a narrow swingbridge. At Katipo Creek it is worth continuing along the track another 500m or so to see the wooden suspension bridge over the creek itself.
Beware of high tides around Crayfish Point – there is a high tide track.

Total Time: 3-5 hours return

Heaphy Hut

The Heaphy Hut is comfortably equipped and spectacularly situated at the mouth of the scenic and unspoilt Heaphy River, sheltered by lush nikau palms and makes an excellent place to stay the night. It would be a good choice for a first overnight hike. The Heaphy Hut was rebuilt in 2012 and is well equipped and comfortable. There is also a lovely campground near the Heaphy River mouth.

Total Time: Overnight Trip, 6 hours each way

Heaphy Track

The Heaphy Track is one of the South Island’s Great Walks, and is a popular tramp year round thanks to the region’s mild climate. For more information about the track please visit www.HeaphyTrack.com


Transport can be arranged between the Karamea and Kohaihai for $15 per person. For more information about transport in the Kahurangi region, please visit KarameaConnections.co.nz.

Groves of Nikau Palms Along the Shore of Kohaihai River

Nikau Palms at Kohahai

Kohaihai River Mouth Karamea

Kohaihai River Mouth

New Zealand Fur Seal

A friendly local

Sunbathing seal at Scotts Beach

Sunbathing seal at Scott's Beach

Nikau Palm along the Heaphy Track

Nikau Palms along the Heaphy Track

Driftwood Sculpture on Heaphy Track

Driftwood Sculpture on Heaphy Track

View along the Heaphy Track from Scotts Beach Lookout

View along the Heaphy Track from Scott's Beach Lookout