Time: 25 min, one way
Distance: 1 km
From the first car park a well-formed track leads up the Oparara riverbank, through beech and podocarp forest and past limestone outcrops. The arch is 219 metres long with sides 79 metres apart and a roof 43 metres above the river that carved the impressive feature.
Moria Gate Mirror Tarn Loop
Time: 1 hr 30 min round trip
Distance: 4.1 km
This walk is a great option for children with a limestone arch, reflective tarn and interpretation panels to keep them interested.
From the main Oparara car park follow the track to the Moria Gate Arch. Smaller than the Oparara Arch, the Moria Gate Arch is very pretty and should not be missed. It is 19 metres high, 43 metres wide and fully deserving its ‘Lord of the Rings’ name. The track continues over the arch highlighted by the paving stones. After passing the turn off to the Oparara Valley Track Mirror Tarn emerges offering spectacular reflections of the surrounding rain forest. Continue on to the Mirror Tarn carpark where a short walk along the road takes you back to the Oparara car park.
Oparara Valley Track
Time: 5 hr one way
Distance: 14 km
This track links the Oparara Basin with the historic Fenian track. Start from the Oparara car park and branch off from the Moria Gate Mirror Tarn Loop. Travel through heavily forested ancient terrace country. The forest floor is carpeted in native moss gardens and the massive rimu and kahikatea trees are strangled by mighty rata vines.
Approximately halfway to the Fenian Track junction you come to Sunshine Flat. Walk the 'Avenue of the Giants', a locally named section of track before crossing the suspension bridge at Postal River. From here you have the choice to further explore the old gold fields or continue the track to the Fenian car park.
An old forestry road provides access for walkers, cavers and other nature lovers to the Oparara Basin. The road branches inland approximately eleven kilometres north of Karamea on the road to Kohaihai.
It is a further 12 km to the arches car park and another three kilometres to the caves car park. This gravel road is narrow and steep in places so take care. Not recommended for campervans.
Know before you go
Safety is your responsibility. Wear sturdy footwear and suitable clothing. Drive to the conditions - keep your speed down on the gravel road, have your headlights on and be prepared to pull over for other road users.
Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.