Moria Gate Arch.
Image: R Rossiter | DOC
From the main Ōpārara car park, walk through original old-growth rain forest, featuring kahikatea, rimu and moss-covered trees.
Follow the track to beautiful Moria Gate Arch, named in 1984 after the gate in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is worthwhile going underneath the arch via a short side track to view the naturally sculptured limestone and maybe spot a native blue duck/whio feeding in the whiskycoloured waters of the Ōpārara River.
The track continues over the arch, highlighted by the paving stones embossed with the footprint of the extinct moa who once walked here. Continue past the turn-off to the Oparara Valley Track, after a final glimpse of the Moria Gate Arch.
Along the track look out for bush robins/kakaruai, weka and, if you are lucky, kākā. Take care to avoid the giant land snails (powelliphanta) that sometimes cross the track.
At Mirror Tarn you’ll find spectacular reflections of the surrounding rainforest. Further along, the track meets the Mirror Tarn car park and it is a short walk along the road back to the Ōpārara car park.
The walk start on McCallums Mill Road, north of Karamea. From Karamea, head north for about 10 km, then turn into McCallums Mill Road and follow this for about 13 km to the Ōpārara car park.
Note, McCallums Mill Road is a narrow and steep gravel road. It is not suitable for large vehicles or campervans.