Karamea is one of the many New Zealand locations which claims “Paradise.” Personally, I’ll save this title for little Glenorchy and surrounding areas but, Karamea is beautiful too. It’s a ways north off of HWY6, which runs along the west coast of the South Island, so is often missed by tourists. If you’re looking for seclusion, great coastal views and lots of wind, Karamea is your place.
We camped in this little town before heading out for a part of the Heaphy Track from Kohaihai Creek. A thick jungle covers most of this day on the track. Above, palms, tall ferns and tropical trees cover the sky with green, to either side there are more ferns, bushes, moss and other greenery. A very short walk will get you to a picnic site to view Scott’s beach, and a few kms further will let you onto the beach itself.
Since this is one of New Zealand’s eight great walks, it’s a well-maintained, wide, level walking trail, especially on the more accessible ends. We met one of the DOC (Dep’t of Conservation) employees maintaining the trail on his bobcat (see image below). He was friendly and enjoying a day of work at the office. We asked him what to do about the sandflies (at this point, I asked everyone) and he laughed. They just don’t bother the locals like they do the foreigners.
Walking the entire Heaphy Track takes a certain level of fitness, as it’s a 4 or 5 day 78.4km tramp. The walk to Scott’s Beach though, was easy, a suspension bridge, a well maintained trail and almost no elevation change make it a leisurely day tramp. If you make the drive out to almost-paradise little Karamea, make sure you enjoy a bit of this beautiful walk.