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Debbie does...round the world
17th Apr 2017 - Adventures in New Zealand
Just one of those great times - Honeycomb Hill Caves

Woke up to a spectacular West Coast day - the green of the grass,the blue of the sky, the quiet and peacefulness - photographs can never do this any justice of how wonderful it is.

The drive up to the Oparara Basin was lovely - native bush, birds singing and nobody else. About 45 mins in total. Stopped off to to see the Crazy Paving and Box Cnayon Caves - short walk thru native bush to each of the caves. Didnt see any of the promised cave spiders and one small weta. Torch is needed. Then a quick cup of tea whilst waiting.

Up rolls Bill at the appointed time in his 4WD - a male of the older generation. - knowlwdgable,talks enough but not too much kind of guy - perfect for us. So we booked on the Honeycomb Hill Cave tour via the Info Centre in Karamea - its the only way you can see this cave. $95pp (thanks Mum - this is how we spent our Christmas $$$) - other tours as well that incorprate other parts of the Oparara Basin and also pick up from Karamea. The road in doesnt lend itself to caravans and campervans - reasonable to not take them on this road. We were the only two which made it even better. I wasnt sure what adventure we were going on in the next 3 hours so elected not to take the camera - this sort of turned out to be a mistake but in some ways a blessing - sometimes I can get caught up in the taking of photos rather than the sense of just enjoying and 'being' in a special place and taking it all in. It was approx a 45 min walk to the cave entrance - one of the most beautiful and tranquil walks ever - so quiet and peaceful and stunning - bird songs. The little South Island Robin following us - well known to the guide and the piwakawakas dancing around looking for the insects we were disturbing. A swing bridge capped it off nicely - lots of stops along the way with the history of the area being explained as well as how the cave was discovered by hunters. The Honeycomb Hill Cave is evidently world famous for its moa bones and other extinct bird species - I only heard about it several weeks ago whilst researching for this trip. The cave system is about 15kms of passages in total and has wonderful limestone formations. Hard helmut was put on at the entrance and head torches switched on - took about an hour or slightly more to get through the cave system - reasonable walking conditions in the dark. Lots of bones etc and saw a large cave spider. Staligtites and staligmites all over the place - pretty amazing. Then out the other end to do the track back to the car park with the piwakawakas following us again. MR doesnt generally wow about these things but he was a pretty happy man. The guide was wonderful - just the perfect kind of person for us. All in all a pretty special 4 hours finished by tea and home made baking provided as part of it. You do need to book in advance particularly over the winter months. Those of below average fitness can do it as plenty of stops but there are steps in the cave and good walking shoes are essential.

Drove to Lake Hanlon from here - 20kms south of Karamea and sinposted. A uphill and downhill walk of about 20mins each way to a picturesque lake. Wish we had taken the picnic basket with lunch in it as a lovely bench there to sit and eat.

Then on to the top of what I call the Karamea Hill lookout - it may not be the Karamea Hill - ate a very late lunch here and a cup of tea and then as it was approaching dark did the 3,5 hour drive home.

One thing we learnt today - check times of petrol pumps in Karamea as they are only open when the Info Centre is open and as a public holiday today they closed at 1300 - we came back thru to fill up around 1400. Fortunately had enough in the tank to get to Westport.



Next: 4WD adventure - Porika and Braeburn tracks - Nelson Lakes National Park
Previous: Karamea - walking


Diary Photos

Lake Hanlon Track

Lake Hanlon

Lake Hanlon

Lake Hanlon

Views from top of ?Karamea Hill (between Karamea and Westport

Views from top of hill

Views from top of hill

Views from Karamea River Motel

Views from Karamea River Motel

Views from Karamea River Motel

Walk to Crazy Paving and Box Canyon Cave

Walk to Crazy Paving and Box Canyon Cave

Walk to Crazy Paving and Box Canyon Cave

Walk to Crazy Paving and Box Canyon Cave

Walk to Crazy Paving and Box Canyon Cave

Crazy Paving and Box Canyon Caves

Walk to Crazy Paving and Box Canyon Cave

Walk to Crazy Paving and Box Canyon Cave


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