Karamea is an excellent place for year round tramping. It’s northerly latitude and subtropical climate means that routes such as the Heaphy Track and Wangapeka Track are some of the best options for tramping outside of the summer season. Kahurangi National Park’s trout fishing is world class and that applies to the rivers and streams encountered on all of these tracks.
Walk the first few hours of the Heaphy Track, and return.
Climbing the track to the peak of Mt Stormy at elevation of 1084 meters with great views of Karamea is a challenging, but rewarding day walk.
The Fenian Track is a forest walking trail following the Oparara River made by gold miners in the late 1800’s. There are caves and a historic miner’s hut on the track and a new track was built in 2008, connecting it with the Oparara Basin.
Walk up the banks of the Karamea River to where the mountains shut out the sun and the river runs in fast rapids. Reach Old Mans Rock, a rock the size of a house. (This a rough bush track requiring tramping experience and reasonable fitness).
The Heaphy Track is one of the Great Walks of New Zealand and probably the most diverse in terms of scenery.
The Wangapeka Track is 4 to 5 day backcountry experience crosses the rugged southern section of Kahurangi National Park through marble mountains and limestone gorges. It crosses two saddles over 1000m, though these are snow free almost all year. There are many side trails (with huts) and opportunities to climb/traverse peaks. The Wangapeka is the gateway to the interior of the park. It starts in Little Wanganui, 20 mins drive from Karamea (transport can be arranged by Karamea Connections) and finishes near Tapawera, east of Nelson.
A 4-5 day wilderness trail which leaves the Wangapeka Track deep in the park, descending the upper Karamea valley before ascending a creek and a spur onto the high Tablelands Plateau. From here it is possible to exit to the east and Flora Saddle/Mt. Arthur, or to the north and the Cobb Valley in Golden Bay.
Another way into the interior of the park is via this trail, which leads to Grey’s Hut, a small hut about 6-8 hours difficult progress upstream. The huge Karamea River is constrained to narrow widths with resultingly impressive rapids that attract white water rafters from all over the world (though not frequently enough to disturb the peace). The last few kilometres to this hut there is little or no trail and progress must be made along the riverbank. For some this hut is the gateway to the Tasman Wilderness Area, a large expanse of virgin forest, deep clear rivers and jagged, lake studded mountains with no huts or trails.