It’s possible to get out into the bush without tramping for hours – there are quite a few options for shorter walks in the area.
Areas with Several Walks
There are several short walks from Kohaihai, at the start of the Heaphy Track suitable for all levels of fitness.
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There are quite a few more walks suitable for all levels of fitness to spectacular arches, a reflecting tarn and several caves.
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The South Terrace is a raised area of land to the south of Karamea. The initial township in Karamea was built up here, but it was soon abandoned for the fertile plains. It’s possible to visit the old cemetary and there and walk to a couple of spectacular viewpoints of the Karamea valley and surrounding mountains. Access is either on an easy track from the end of the South Terrace Road (on the right on the way out of town, after the campground) or by a steep track (the Zig Zag Track) from partway down the Arapito Road (the south bank of the river).
Via Zig Zag Track: 1hr 30 return
Via South Terrace Road: 45 mins return
Big Rimu Tree
The Big Rimu Tree is a huge remnant from the days when this part of the bush was selectively cut – supposedly this tree was too big to log. It is several metres in width and tens of metres in height. The shaded clearing at it’s foot, with a canopy of tree ferns is a very meditative place. There is a car park about 5km down the Umere Road (north bank of the river) for the track.
Total Time: 1 hour return
Karamea Estuary Loop
This track, which allows excellent opportunities for birdwatching, can be easily reached on foot from Karamea Farm Baches. Turn left at the hotel onto Wharf Road, then right onto Ray Street and continue after the road turns into a farm track. At the end of this road is a car park. On the right is a short track (10 minutes return) which passes by the old wharf and some remnants of tram carts from before an earthquake silted up the harbour in 1929. To the left is a gravel track that follows the estuary round to the banks of the Karamea River. It is possible to follow the beach instead, however, it can be muddy and rocky in this part. Return along the gravel road that follows the riverbank to Wharf Road.
Total Time: 30mins – 1 hour
The wild Tasman Sea beach is reached by turning right at the historic Karamea Village Hotel and continuing along the road about 1km. After the bridge, go straight on on the gravel road for about 1.5km to reach a car park in the sand dunes behind the beach. It is possible to walk a fair distance in either direction along the beach. To the south is the Karamea River mouth.