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Kahurangi National Park

» iSee


Created in 1996, Kahurangi is one of New Zealand

Address: 79 Trafalgar Street, Nelson Nelson Region

Phone: view phone+64 3 546 9339



Created in 1996, Kahurangi is one of New Zealand's newest national parks, and at 452,002 hectares it is also the second largest. Translated, its name has a number of meanings including 'treasured possession', an apt description of its wonderfully diverse natural and recreational values.

In places it is an untracked wilderness, elsewhere a wonderful network of tracks lets you explore wild rivers, high plateaux and alpine herbfields, and coastal forests. History Parts of Kahurangi were occupied by Maori from the 14th Century and the coast was much travelled by those seeking pounamu (greenstone). In 1846 Charles Heaphy, a draughtsman with the New Zealand Company, and Thomas Brunner were the first Europeans to traverse across the park to the coast.

Later well worn packtracks were built by those wanting easy access to the country's first goldfields. Geology Kahurangi is a geologically complex area. Much of its rock is sedimentary, laid down in an ancient sea, then faulted, uplifted and scoured, in places, by glaciers.

Parts of the region are limestone or marble, these areas are characterised by an abundance of caves, bluffs, natural arches, sinkholes and water-worn outcrops. New Zealand's oldest fossil (540 million years old) was found in the park.

Vegetation The vegetation cover changes markedly from one side of the park to the other and from the coast to the tops of mountains.

In the east, beech forest is dominant while to the west you will see podocarp forest with a rich understory of ferns, vines and shrubs. On the coast stands of nikau palms give the forest an almost tropical look. 80% of New Zealand's alpine species can be found in the high reaches of the park. Habitat Due to the varied landscape numerous different habitats have been created which support many different creatures. Several threatened species survive here from the diminutive rock wren to one of New Zealand's largest birds - the great spotted kiwi.

The park is home to our largest cave spider and the smallest of our giant weta - a flightless insect a bit like a grasshopper. 20 species of carnivorous land snail (Powelliphanta) live in the park; they can sometimes be seen near limestone outcrops though they tend to only come out from hiding on damp nights to feed on native worms that can grow up to a metre long.

Activities Tracks and walks There are more than 570 kilometres of walking and tramping tracks in the park. The more popular longer walks include the Heaphy Track (one of New Zealand's Great Walks) and the Wangapeka Track. Short walks are available at most roadends. Kahurangi also contains the Tasman Wilderness Area. Vast, untracked and without huts, it is suitable for experienced trampers.

Mountain biking There are now three tracks in Kahurangi where mountain biking is allowed, offering a variety of grades and experiences: Heaphy Track, Anatoki/Waingaro circuit, Flora to Barron Flat (see Leslie/Karamea Track). Rafting and kayaking Remote, wild rivers are a feature of Kahurangi. Most are suitable for experienced kayakers only.

Commercial rafting tours are available. Fishing The Karamea River is prized internationally for its trout fishing. Caving Some of the deepest caves in the world have been found in Kahurangi but they are not for the inexperienced.

Source of photos & information


Kahurangi National Park, Nelson Region, New Zealand

Motueka, Murchison, Karamea and Takaka are the gateways to Kahurangi. Roads extend from these towns to the park; some require a little care and may be closed after snow or heavy rain. Public transport services operate between all these towns, and taxi services link them to the main track ends. Air services are also offered, which are particularly convenient for those walking through the Heaphy or Wangapeka Tracks.

Nelson Regional Visitor Centre
Millers Acre / Taha o te Awa
79 Trafalgar Street
Nelson 7010

Photo Gallery

Kahurangi National Park
  • Great spotted kiwi
  • Nikau Palms, Heaphy Track, Kahurangi National Park

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