The Karamea River runs through one of the largest, relatively intact natural areas left in New Zealand, Kahurangi National Park. The Karamea is a true wilderness adventure that lacks any road access and for most its length, even trails. The river is flanked by limestone cliffs, huge granite boulders and a lush mosaic of nakau palms, giant rata, a variety of beech trees. The Karamea is home to giant eels, great spotted kiwis, blue ducks and legions of sand flies.

What a beauty. Was this a solo trip?

Presuming you also rafted the Leslie on the way down to the Karamea…

How did you get on with the Karamea below the Roaring Lion? I note that you visited the RL hut (the start of most of my wilderness fly-fishing trips). A challenge to find the start of the track to it from the Karamea, although once on it, it is well marked, and the hut position is incorrectly marked on (my) map, and also a surprisingly long way from the Karamea, isn’t it?

How did you get on with all the rapids below the RL rapid? No doubt you had already spoken with Roman about his trip 2yrs ago down the Karamea. Sadly the Karamea was in flood last year when we were planning to raft out from the Ugly R. It had looked so fantastic when we flew up it at the start of our trip.

I’ve got some nice heli video of the Karamea from Karamea up to just before the Ugly confluence from last year, so I’ll post it when I’ve fluffed around with it enough to get it on youtube - it’d be quite good for trip planning, as the Karamea looks perfect for packrafting for anyone else planning a trip.

I’ll get to raft it sometime.

Andrew A

Video of helicopter flight from Karamea to just below the Ugly R confluence should be here:

If it didn’t work, I’ll try again…


I hiked in from the Little Wanganui over the Saddle to the Taipo River (Wangapeka Trek), just like John Mackey did with inner-tube rafts back in '74. I was able to start boating at the Trevor Cartor Hut. From the take out (Highway Bridge over the Karamea) it was only about a 10 mile walk back to where I started and my car. It took 3 1/2 days. I was solo.

It took less then 30 minutes to portage the rapid at the outlet of Earth Quake Lake (Roaring Lion). I had no problem finding the hut. In total I portaged maybe 6 of the worst rapids. Had I not been alone I would of portaged less. However, a couple of the rapids I doubt I would ever run. I have not spoken with Roman about the Karamea.

That made a nice circuit then. I must have a look at the map. It’s a fantastic place.

Are you over there at the moment ?