This trip offers the best of the northern west coast of the South Island. It includes three days on the Heaphy Track- the easiest section – and a full day in the Oparara Valley. On the Heaphy Track section, clients carry their personal gear, clothing and sleeping bag.
The first day is a scenic drive from our base in Motueka, through the Buller Gorge, to Kohaihai, which is the start (or end) of the Heaphy Track, on the west coast. From here we will walk along the coastal section of the track to the Heaphy hut at the mouth of the Heaphy River. This section of the track is regarded by many as the best coastal walk in NZ. It meanders in and out of spectacular Nikau palm and karaka/rata forest, over rocky headlands, beautiful stretches of beach, and beside the pounding west coast surf. This is a 5 hour walk, flat to gentle undulations. We spend the night at the beautifully located Heaphy Hut.
On day two of our walk, we spend the entire day exploring up the Heaphy River as far as the Lewis Hut, where the track then begins to climb to its higher sections of the Mackay and Gouland Downs. This is a very relaxing day with only day packs. We walk through magnificent lowland rain forest with massive northern rata trees festooned with a myriad of epiphytes. We also walk under massive limestone bluffs and will explore the Field Cave. Bird sightings may include; weka, pigeon, falcon, tomtits, bellbirds, tuis, cormorants, oyster catchers and fernbirds. We can take a late evening walk to look for the elusive great spotted kiwi.
Day three we return down the coast to Kohaihai, and will spend the next two nights in Karamea at the Last Resort where we can experience West Coast hospitality! On day four we will spend the entire day in the primeval Oparara Valley, where we will visit the limestone arches – one of which is over 200 metres long! The largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. We will also visit the very sensitive Honeycomb Hill Cave with a specialist cave guide. Only 5% of this cave is open to the public, due to its sensitive nature i.e. bones from long extinct birds such as moa.
On day five we return to Motueka, or Nelson, depending on your outgoing travels. We will make a brief visit to the Denniston Plateau, where author Jenny Pattrick set the book ‘Denniston Rose’.