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New Zealand hikesNew Zealand Leslie-Karamea Track

New Zealanders and overseas visitors have turned to unspoiled hills, forests and coasts of our magnificent New Zealand landscape in search of physical recreation and spiritual solace. The Leslie - Karamea Track is is one of the Nelsons Regions premier semi-wilderness experiences situated in the middle of Kahurangi National Park. It is a 5- 6 day link through earthquake torn Karamea Valley, between Flora Carpark and the Wangapeka Track; 6 - 9 days are needed to get from road end to road end.

Leslie - Karamea Track is classified as a tramping track. It is marked but not benched, and quite rough in places. Many streams along the Leslie-karamea Track are not bridged and are very flood prone. Strong footwear, backcountry experience and a good level of fitness are required for any trip into the Leslie - Karamea Track area.

Leslie-Karamea Track, in the heart of Kahurangi National Park, offers a remote experience. Linking Flora car park and the Wangapeka Track, it passes through the earthquake-torn Karamea Valley, following rivers through lush bush, and traversing saddles. Marks left by the earthquake include Moonstone Lake and various slips. Discover Leslie-Karamea Track, a top destination for tramping and hiking track adventures - the Leslie - KarameaTrack, Nelson, New Zealand.

 
General Information

Leslie - Karamea Track is classified as a tramping track. It is marked but not benched, and quite rough in places. Many streams along the Leslie-karamea Track are not bridged and are very flood prone. Strong footwear, backcountry experience and a good level of fitness are required for any trip into the Leslie - Karamea Track area.

Leslie - Karamea Track and its facilities are administered by the Department of Conservation. Leslie - Karamea Trackis most commonly walked: from Flora Car park to the eastern end of the Wangapeka Track. Around Trevor Carter hut there are several options, but river levels may cause delays or dictate which option you take. Please read the track description and safety information thoroughly before your trip. Other options for starting the track and the exit to the West Coast are described below.

All fauna and flora are protected:native plants must not be removed and domestic animals, such as dogs, are prohibited. All mammals ( except bats) are introduced, noxious and fair game (except on private property); but hunting of these (e.g. goats) is not allowed except by permit.

It is the responsibility of every traveller to seen that the environment remains undamaged and unpolluted and is preserved as nearly as possible in its natural state. Information about the park may be obtained from the official park handbook and park pamphlets obtainable at park headquarters and stations, the Department of Conservation in Nelson, at Government bookshops and many other booksellers.

Back Country Hut tickets or an annual hut pass are required to stay in the huts. All are basic huts requiring one ticket per night, except Salisbury Lodge and the Wangapeka Track huts which are standard ( 2 tickets). There is no charge for Cecil Kings Hut or the Stag Flat and Flora Valley shelters. Even so, for safety's sake, you must ensure that you register your group's names and intentions in national park hut books along the track.

 
Facts
Time 5 - 7 days
Distance 90 - 100 km One Way
Grade Medium
Highest Point
2000m, at several places 8 hour days bad weather
Huts 7 DOC Huts
Maps
 
Features
  • Easy Graded Track
  • Earthquake Carved Valleys
  • Leslie - Karamea River
  • Plenty of Campsites
  • Seven Huts
  • Excellent Trout Fishing
  • Excellent transport to and from both track ends
 

Leslie - Karamea track lies in the heart of the Kahurangi National Park and traverses the headwaters of the Upper Karamea and Leslie Rivers. The Karamea watershed occupies almost a third of the area of the Kahurangi National Park.

The Karemea and Leslie Tracks link the Wangapeka Track with the Mount Arthur Tablelands via the delightful upper Karamea and Leslie Valleys, in the heart of North West Nelson, Kahurangi National Park. With evenly spaced huts, major rivers bridged and a track - route, this trip is suitable for most trampers and hikers and is becoming a popular alternative to a straight crossing of the Wangapeka Track.

Depending on the choice of approach and exit, the full trip covers some 90 - 100 km and can take between 5 top 7 days in total, you will need about 4 days, though 5 to 7 days will allow for fuller enjoyment of the area. ( The total length of the journey from either othe Cobb or Flora Carpark to Little Wanganui or Rolling River is about 86 km).

From the gold diggings on the Mt Arthur Tablelands, the diggers moved into the Karamea River Area. By 1878 a benched track had been formed from the Tableland to the Karamea Bend and diggers were active in the catchm ents of the Leslie, Crow and Roaring Lion. No great fortunes were made.

For some years round the turn of the century, cattle were grazed in the Leslie and up the Karamea as far as the Crow by the Salisbury Family, who built a log hut on the Leslie Clearing in 1890s. The last cattle were mustered out about 1913.

Gold seekers returned during the '30s deperession. At the Crow Hut is a solid ironwheel which a digger carried in. He build at wheelbarroow around it and wheeled his paydirt down to the stream for washing up ( panning the material from the sluice box). In the Leslie, Collins of Napier built two huts and had a petrol engine brought in by horse to drain his shafts. With the passing of the depression the diggers left.

 
Access - How To Get There

Flora Carpark - Roads from Nelson and Motueka meet the Motueka River at Ngatimoti where a bridgge crosses to West Bank Road. The unsealed Graham Valley Road climbs steeply to Flora Carpark where there is a coin phone, toilet and information kiosk.

Wangapeka Track ( Eastern End) - From Tapawera follow the signposts west to the Wangapeka Valley. While there is a swingbridge for foot traffic, the Dart River may not be passable by vehicles after heavy rain. There is an information kiosk and public telephone at Prices Creek, just before the track entrance.

Wangapeka Track ( Western End) - From the West Coast road, turn off at Little Wanganui and drive inland on Wangapeka Road to the carpark where the track begins.

Private Transport: This is the most flexible and convenient method of reaching the track. If possible your party should make mutual arrangements with another party walking from the opposite end, so that you can swap cars for the return road journey. Car parks are available at Flora Car Park and Wangapeka Track ( Eastern End).

 
Track Transport

Leslie - Karamea Track is well served by track transport. You can take a bus, taxi or fly. There is considerable competition on this route, so a variety of options are available to suit your particular needs. There is considerable competition on this route, so a variety of options are available tos suit your particular needs.

Most people begin the track at Flora car park, 75 km from Nelson and 36 km from Motueka. You can also enter from the eastern end of the Wangapeka Track. From Tapawera, 62 km from Nelson, follow the signposts west to the Wangapeka Valley.

For the West Coast end of the Wangapeka Track, turn onto Wangapeka Road at Little Wanganui (80 km north of Westport, 18 km south of Karamea) and drive for 5 km.

A bus service runs from Nelson to Tapawera. From Nelson, Motueka, and Tapawera, on-demand services run to the entrances of the track. Similar services run from the Karamea end, and an air service can take you back to your starting point.

 
Huts and Camping

Huts along the way are provided with bunks, open fireplaces, cooking utensils, shovels, axes and toilets. Sleeping bags are essential and should be the all-weather kind. Huts - Keep huts tidy and replenish the firewood supplies before you leave. Remember they are public huts and other parties may be using them as well. There is a 2-night limit on stopovers. Gas - You will need to bring a small primus or gas stove for all huts. Food -You should carry sufficient provisions for 10 days to allow for any unforesceen delays. Water - There is no shortage of water. Campfires - use the provided campfire sites or hut fireplaces and always watch your fire carefully. Make certain it is properly out when you leave it. Use only dead wood from fallen trees for firewood.

 
Weather and Season

Leslie - Karamea Track lies within a earthquake triggered slip prone environment. It is possible to experience sunshine, torrential rain, swollen rivers, high winds and snow all in one day, even in summer. Be prepared for sudden weather changes, usually for the worse, and take a waterproof raincat, woollen hat and gloves, and a complete change of clothes. Do not underestimate the Leslie-Karamea track weather conditions. Be prepared for the worst conditions.

The section of Leslie - Karamea Track from Thor Hut to Trevor Hut can be very treacherous especially when rivers are swollen around Kendall Creek in bad weather. Be prepared to turn around and return to Thor Hut if Apollo Creek, Mars Creek and Kendall Creek are not crossable. If in doubt - wait it out. Only highly experienced trampers, hikers and climbers should undertake the track

River crossings - The force of a stream or river current should never be underestimated. When swollen by heavy rain, don't attempt a crossing. Wait until the flow subsides; take great care and use the proper method.

 
Clothing and Equipment

Compared with other tracks in New Zealand , Leslie - Karamea track is not constructed to a very high standard. It is a tramping track or at times a route which is marked but often not benched. May be steep and rough in many places. There will be some unbridged waterways. Boots are advisable and a moderate fitness level is required.

In some places on Leslie-Karamea Track becomes a marked route. Part of Leslie-Karamea track are marked but there is little or no formed track or it may be under water due to flooding. The terrain is usually steep and rugged. Many waterways may be unbridged. You have a sense of back country and require a good level of fitness in places

Most major streams are bridged, there are many boggy areas or very steep sections, and the walking gradient is easy - moderate in certain sections of Leslie - Karamea track. Strong footwear is recommended, and walkers should carry clothing for all weather conditions.

Walkers must take adequately warm clothing. In fine weather, shorts and a light shirt may be worn but long trousers, a warm shirt and woollen sweater essential for cold conditions. A waterproof parka is also essential. Boots must be worn and these must be properly broken in. A comfortable pack and warm sleeping bag are essential: there is no bedding in the huts.

All food and personal utensils must be carried. You must take your own liquid fuel (preferably gas) stove; there are no cooking facilities, though all huts have solid fuel stoves for heating and drying. Use the fuel provided at huts and campsites. If this is scarce, collect dead wood only. Do not chop live trees. All native trees are protected and, anyway, green wood does not burn.

Food -You should carry sufficient provisions for 10 days to allow for any unforesceen delays. There is no gas in any of the huts you need to carry enough fuel for 10 days.

You should take a small first aid kit, small compass, including insect repellant and a suitable antihistamine if you are allergic to wasp and bee stings. Wasps and bees are present in large numbers during the summer. Carry a torch and of course, appropriate track guide

 
Fitness and Preparation

It is important to ensure that you are physically fit. If you are not preoccupied with blistered feet or sore muscles then not only will you cover the ground more quickly and safely, but you will have more time and opportunity to appreciate the scenery and natural features that you have made so much effort to reach! So - break in those boots, make sure your clothing and gear are comfortable and adequate, plan your food requirements, and undertake several training tramps or hikes of increasing length and difficulty. There's only one way to get fit for tramping - and that's tramping.

Before you leave home, inform relatives or friends of your intentations and dates of travel and put your names and plans in the log books along the way. This will make your location easier should you suffer any mishap.

 
Approach to Walking

Don't rush and don't loiter. Keep up a good, steady pace and don't indulge in too many rest stops - it's surprising how the time gets away from you. And rests should not be too long, otherwise you may stiffen up and lose your rhythm. Don't hang around if its wet and cold - keep body heat up. Start out early each day, so that you're always time in hand.

On the track, keep your party together at all times; this reduces the chance of a member getting lost or having an accident. Remember the golden rule - the pace of the party is that of its slowest member.
 
Warning

Communication - Carry a Mountain Radio or an EPERB Locator beacon when you travel this track. Should an injury occur there is very little track traffic and it may take awhile for someone to assist you for a major injury. There is little or no mobile reception on this track.

Food -You should carry sufficient provisions for 10 days to allow for any unforesceen delays.

Gas - You will need to bring a small primus or gas stove for all huts enough fuel for 10 days.

River crossings - The force of a stream or river current should never be underestimated. When swollen by heavy rain, don't attempt a crossing. Wait until the flow subsides; take great care and use the proper method. Many of the options are not fordable when rivers in high flood. Parts of the track accessing bridges will be under water waist high.

Bad Weather - should there be heavy rain or swollen rivers, expect to held up for at least 3 -4 days before the rivers are safe to cross again. Streams normally easy to cross will not be safe to cross.

 
More>> Leslie Karamea Track Photos & DOC Brochure
 
Distances Tracks / Times

But observation of one's surroundings is reduced in direct proportion to the speed of travel and, one might add, the weight of one's load. Most Leslie - Karamea Track Walkers will want to take their time - for comfort's sake and to take in to the full attraction of the natural environment.

Location
Distance
Times
Tablelands Signpost to Splugeons Shelter
4 km
1 -2 hrs
Splugeons Shelter to Karamea Bend Hut
8 km
3 hrs(4)
Leslie Clearing to Karamea Bend Hut
4 km
1-2 hrs
Karamea Bend to Crow Hut
10 km
2.5 hrs (3)
Karamea Bend to Roaring Lion
10 - 11 km
5 hrs
Crow Hut to Venus Hut
6 km
2 hrs
Venus Hut to Thor Hut
5.5 km
2 hrs
THor Hut to Trevor Carter Hut
8 - 9 km
3.5 - 4 hrs
Related
 

Further Information

DOC Nelson Regional Visitor Centre
Millers Acre Centre, Taha o te awa
79 Trafalgar Street
P O Box 375
Nelson
Phone +64 3 546 9339
Email: nelsonvc@doc.govt.nz

Web: www.doc.govt.nz

 

 
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