The Ultimate Guide to Traveling the Karamea Highway

Karamea Highway is a very scenic drive at the most northern end of the South Island's West Coast of New Zealand. In some ways, this road is special because it's a "road to nowhere", ending spectacularly as the southern access point to the Heaphy Track.

Karamea Highway

The road is paved. It’s also known as the Heritage Highway. The drive It's alive with beautiful scenery, funky little coal-mining towns and locations worthy of an entire feature in National Geographic. Do the drive in the height of summer and you'll be rewarded with views of the rata trees in full flower. The first rule to know about this scenic journey is that driving is almost as enjoyable as the destination.

The Karamea Highway is 53km long and features 68 bends. The drive is definitely worth it. This road is rich with scenery and little towns along the way and despite its physical dead-end status, this drive is anything but dead-end. It finishes spectacularly as the road turns into a pathway, the Heaphy Track. The drive has plenty of bends to keep drivers on their toes as they journey through the beautiful sub-tropical rainforests, and then a long straight along the coast opens up the view for miles out to the Tasman Sea.