Kahurangi National Park
New Zealand’s second largest national park is located in the north-west of the South Island and can be accessed from Motueka, near Nelson or Takaka and Murchison. The park is of great interest to cavers, as it is home to the longest and oldest caves in New Zealand and beneath Mt Arthur, lies the deepest cave system in the Southern Hemisphere. Fossils and fascinating rock formations abound in the park and it was here that New Zealand’s oldest fossil was found. The variety geological features has created a range of ecosystems within this large park, resulting in Kahurangi containing the most diverse range of flora found in New Zealand. The best way to explore the park is on foot and the Department of Conservation website has detailed information on a number of walking tracks, including the Heaphy Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. The Heaphy track is the longest of all the great walks, taking 4 to 6 days to travel the 78.4km well-marked trail. Along the way you pass through a variety of landscapes from beech forests to tussock grasslands, then the lush green podocarp forests before reaching the coastline with its tropical looking Nikau Palms.