Kahurangi National Park
Kahurangi means “treasured possession” and that’s the way we feel about the Park. It is Kahurangi’s heart of wilderness, centred on the Tasman mountains, that symbolises the special character of this national park. Some 570km of incredible walking and hiking trails span the park from Golden Bay in the north, south to Murchison and Tapawera, and to the West Coast of the South Island. The Heaphy Track traverses from Golden Bay in the east to Karamea in the west, over craggy ranges, alpine meadows, valleys of tropical native palms, and ruggedly beautiful coastline. A helicopter will give you a bird’s eye view of this incredible landscape which includes remote sites filmed for the Lord of the Rings movies.
It has incredibly diverse landscape features from sub tropical rainforest, tussock covered high country, alpine lakes, jagged alpine peaks, glorious coastlines and river valleys. It’s the second largest National Park at 452,000ha (or about 1 million acres) and includes some of the oldest rocks in New Zealand, streams that disappear underground and reappear great distances away, sinkholes, caves and the marble mountains of Mt Arthur and Mt Owen.
Its wide diversity of fauna includes the nocturnal carnivorous land snail Powelliphanta. Kahurangi is the home of the largest remaining population of Great Spotted Kiwi. Within this north-west corner of the South Island lie some of our oldest rocks, most spectacular marble and karst land forms and the most intact remnants of the peneplain landscapes that featured in New Zealand around 60 million years ago.
Areas of the Kahurangi have been occupied by Maori since the 14th century and were well travelled by Maori active in the pounamu (greenstone) trade. In 1846 Charles Heaphy and Thomas Brunner were the first Europeans to traverse the park and Heaphy’s name is now given to the Great Walk of New Zealand that runs though the Park. Many people consider the Heaphy Track to be the greatest of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks, combining alpine environments and a primeval, palm-fringed coastline.
While the Kahurangi is a true wilderness park, Simply Wild Journeys make it much more accessible with hiking, heli hiking, and rafting, with many trips not encountering another soul.
For more information on the Kahurangi from the Department of Conservation please click here.