Oparara Basin walking tracks

Alert/Important notice

Pest control operation

DOC will carry out an aerial 1080 operation in approximately 270,000 ha of Kahurangi National Park to control rats, possums and other predators as part of its Battle for our Birds programme.

Non toxic pre feed baits will be applied first followed, approximately 5 days later (weather permitting), by the toxic baits. The area is divided into 5 separate operational blocks and each may be treated at different times.

Most tracks within the operational block to be treated will be temporarily closed until baits have been removed from the track. Major tracks include the eastern portion of the Heaphy Track and Wangapeka Track. The Cobb Road and Wangapeka River Road will be closed until baits have been removed during the Cobb and Wangapeka block operations respectively. The Oparara Basin Access Road will be closed during the Oparara block operations.

This operation is scheduled to start at the first weather opportunity after 1 September 2014. Get

View more information or contact the Motueka Office tel +64 3 528 18), Takaka Office tel +64 3 525 8026), or Westport Office tel +64 3 788 8008).

Track category

Walking track


‘K’ Road Track

Distance:  27 km

Officially opened in June 2003, ‘K’ Road affords walkers and mountain bikers the opportunity to explore approximately 27 km of old logging roads, constructed between the late 1960s and December 1986 when logging in the Oparara area came to an end. The return trip is approximately 27 kilometres long - it is graded as an Easy to Medium track. The K-Road is wide enough for both the keen tramper and the enthusiastic mountain biker, and features areas of cut-over bush, exotic plantations, and fast regenerating native species, with some water features and several stunning views.

Moria Gate Arch
View of the Moria Gate Arch

Oparara Arch

Time:  25 min
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

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.

View of the Oparara River.
The Oparara River surrounded by native moss and lichen covered bush

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. 

Getting there

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.


Bird and wildlife watching Bird and wildlife watching
Mountain biking and cycling Mountain biking and cycling

Bird and wildlife watching

On the Oparara River you may get to spot a native blue duck (whio) feeding in the whisky coloured waters.  The Oparara basin is also home to bush robins, weka, kaka, kea, tomtit, kakariki and the giant land snails (powelliphanta) that sometimes cross the track.  .

Mountain biking and cycling

A signpost approximately 10km along McCallums Mill Road indicates the K Road Track.  The track gives mountain bikers access to 27km of old logging roads. Graded Easy to Medium.

Plan and prepare

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.

Related link

Karamea area walks brochure (PDF, 860K)

back to top


Find out more


DOC maps: Discover the outdoors - DOC's key places, campsites, tracks and huts, and visitor centres on a map


Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for West Coast places


Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 731 1895
Address:   4294 Coast Road
RD 1
Runanga 7873
Email:   paparoavc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Kawatiri / Westport Office
Phone:      +64 3 788 8008
Email:   paparoavc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details

Give feedback on a recent visit to a DOC place