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Previous Day see: Day 4 – Wellington to Saint Arnaud (South Island)

Day 5 - Saint Arnaud to Karamea

The day started overcast, and at the altitude of 640 meters it was a tad cold. Although very comfortable, we were happy to be moving on from the Lodge. The place was full, but (apart from two very loud Americans) nobody talked to each other - very unusual!

Today was the first full day in South Island. With just 250 km to drive in the day to get to Karamea in the North-West, we were expecting an easy day. But we found too many things to do en route!

I might add that a South Island holiday may not be considered an ideal one for hubby - he doesn't like walking unless it's (a) flat, (b) short, and © has a point of interest or photo opportunity. He's also not very keen on small local museums. So we have two books with us to help us decide what to do - 1001 best things to do in New Zealand, and Excellent short walks in the South Island - both from Peter Janssen. We are intending to work our way through them.

Lake Rotoroa

This was our first walk from the Short Walks book. The Lake Rotoroa Nature Walk was a short 25 minute loop, from the car park along the edge of the lake then slightly inland through the bush. Easy walking, and very picturesque. We even had a photogenic bird pose for us. We need to look it up, but it was robin-shaped, but bigger, smoky grey, with a light yellow breast.

Lake Rotoroa

Kawatiri Railway

A bit further along was the short Kawatiri Railway walk. This is a pleasant river and railway walk, with a path through a historic (1923) railway tunnel. The tunnel is reasonably long, dark, and damp. You can walk through it without a light, but I'd recommend a torch. Great photo opportunity though!

6 Mile Power Station

This walk is 10 km south of Murchison, and is a tad longer than the other two at 3 km and 1.25 hours. What made it even longer was that the book didn't make it clear that you needed to double back on yourself once you'd reached the 'Intake pipe' so it was another half-hour of walking along the path before we realised we were heading into the wilderness! Thank goodness that by this time the weather had turned to a lovely hazy sunshine, making for extremely pleasant walking.

Power Station Walk

The power station is actually the oldest hydro-electricstation in NZ - and it is tiny! There's a little shed by the roadside, that you can go into. The generator and turbine are still in there, and still look as if they were turned off yesterday.


We met the loud Americans and their push-bikes in Murchison. Apparently one of them is over here cycling for 6 months, and the other for 6 weeks. They seem nice guys once you talk to them. Must find the volume control though…

Murchison is only about 50 km from Saint Arnaud - and we made it back there for 3 o'clock. I think this indicates just how much there is to do in this small area. We were wishing that we had arranged to stay in the area for another night.

But we hadn't, so we had another 200 km to go before we reached our next destination of Karamea. There were a number of places we'd have liked to stop en route, but with a three hour journey in front of us (and a stop for the compulsory bottle of wine in Westport) we had to keep moving. We'll try and call in on a few more on the way back.

This trip is definitely a learning curve - we're considering taking our chances with accommodation from now on so we aren't tied to having to get to a place by the evening.


Karamea is 97 km from Westport, down a dead-end road. I'm glad we bought food with us - there's nothing for miles around the holiday park!! The holiday park is very basic, but the cabin is comfortable. We're sitting outside on our fold-up chairs, using the wooden chairs from the cabin as tables. There are no lights at all that we can see around the camp, so I guess we'll be using torches tonight!! Best entertainment of the evening is the guy in the caravan in front of us who has just adjusted the TV aerial on his caravan for the 5th time. Tomorrow we have the whole day in Karamea - and the weather forecast says it's going to rain!! Could be an interesting day (not!).

Flying Insect Update: Every carpark sees you surrounded by midges - but once you're out walking it's OK. At 6 mile power station we were 'attacked' by bees! (well, not literally, but there were an awful lot of them about) Tonight a couple have had nibbles - but it could be worse!

Camp $30 per night for two, sand fly count low, we sat out 'til dark

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Karamea Map

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terris_travelogue/south_island/day_05.txt · Last modified: 2011/02/14 22:07 by tel
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