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Kahurangi National Park

Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand

Kohaihai River, Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand.
Kohaihai River, Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand

Kahurangi National Park, is the second largest of New Zealand's 13 national parks behind only Fiordland. It lies in the northwest of South Island. The endangered takahē bird has been fairly recently reintroduced in the park in 2018.

The park covers an area of 4,529 square kilometres (1,749 square miles). It was established in 1996.

Not as heavily visited as some other national parks in New Zealand, which contributes to its sense of remote wilderness and tranquility, the area is popular among outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, trampers (backpackers), and nature lovers. Visitors come seeking a more secluded and authentic experience of New Zealand's natural beauty.

The landscape close to Motueka.
The landscape close to Motueka


The park boasts a diverse range of landscapes, including rugged mountain ranges, vast limestone plateaus, dense forests, waterfalls and pristine rivers. The park's name, "Kahurangi," comes from the Maori language, and it means "treasured possession" or "precious jewel," reflecting the park's natural significance.

One of the most prominent peaks in Kahurangi National Park, Mount Arthur stands at 1,795 meters (5,889 feet) and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding region.

Heaphy Track is a renowned multi-day hiking trail that traverses diverse landscapes, taking hikers from the lush forests of the park's interior to the wild and rugged coastline along the Tasman Sea. The Heaphy Track is one of New Zealand's nine Great Walks and attracts both local and international adventurers.

Kahurangi is home to a rich variety of plant and animal species, some of which are not found anywhere else in the world. The park provides vital habitat for native birds, such as the great spotted kiwi, kaka, and weka, as well as unique plants like the iconic marble mountain buttercup and the rare giant land snail Powelliphanta.

In addition, the park contains an intricate system of limestone caves and sinkholes that create a captivating underground landscape for adventurous explorers.

There are several Department of Conservation (DOC) Visitor Centres with information on the park.

Nelson Regional Visitor Centre Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
79 Trafalgar Street, Nelson 7010
PO Box 375, Nelson 7040
Tel: (03) 546 9339

Golden Bay i-SITE Visitor Centre
Willow Street Takaka 7110
Tel: (03) 525 9136

Motueka i-SITE
Wallace Street Motueka 7120
Tel: (03) 528 6543

Murchison Visitor Centre
Waller Street Murchison
Tel: (03) 523 9350

Westport i-SITE Visitor Centre
1 Brougham Street Westport 7825
Tel: (03) 789 6658

Picton i-SITE Visitor Centre
The Foreshore Picton
Tel: (03) 520 3113

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Centre
Railway Station, Sinclair Street Blenheim 7201
Tel: (03) 577 8080

Kaikoura i-SITE Visitor Centre
West End Kaikoura 7300
Tel: (03) 319 5641

River and hills near Motueka.
River and hills near Motueka


Try Motueka Garden Motel with a 3-acre wide garden, an outdoor pool, barbecue facilities and free on-site parking.

The four-star Avalon Manor Motel on the High Street has barbecue facilities and free parking on site.

The Hotel Motueka Backpackers, Loud Live Music Friday Saturday Nights provides concierge services, non-smoking rooms, a terrace, free WiFi throughout the property and a bar. For the young and young-at-heart.

Find accommodation in Motueka.

Access - Getting There

Motueka, Murchison, Karamea and Takaka are the main gateways to Kahurangi. There are roads from these towns leading to the park.

Public transport services connect these towns, and taxi services link them to the main track ends.

The closest major, international airport to the park is Wellington International Airport (WLG).

In addition, Nelson Airport has flights to Wellington, Auckland Airport (AKL) and Christchurch.

If you drive from Nelson to Murchison take State Highway 6. The journey takes about 90 minutes. Motueka is a 40 minute drive from Nelson on State Highway 60.

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