“What a beauty spot”.

Anna Howard - Elwood, Melbourne, Australia

A quick look at Karamea

Karamea is a secluded haven, situated at the end of the road, at the Northern end of the South Island's West Coast. It is flanked by the bush-covered mountains of the Kahurangi National Park on the one hand and the Tasman Sea on the other.

Karamea, with its mild climate and beautiful surroundings, has that relaxed "off the beaten track" feeling not often found nowadays.

Our surrounding area has a wonderful array of untouched natural features and spectacles. Whether you're a tramper, caver, botanist, geologist, hunter, fisherman, kayaker, surfer, mountain biker, keen photographer or just looking for a quiet, unspoilt spot for a romantic escape or a quality family holiday. Welcome to Karamea, we have it all - everything that is except a franchised fast food outlet.

See where you can stay

Some local Karamea history

This original settlement was on the South Terrace but poor soil forced the inhabitants down to the river valley. One side of the river (Umere) was known as the Land of Promise, the other side (Arapito) as the Promised Land. Farming was to become a major industry, but timber, flax and gold also provided a means to a living. The Murchison earthquake in 1929 caused the silting up of the harbour and cut the community's road link for about two years.

Dairying remains a major industry in Karamea. Sphagnum moss, possum control, fishing, fine furniture production, horticultural tomato growers and a plant nursery also provide income, while the local service industry employs approximately a quarter of the total workforce.

The local climate

Karamea has an average of around 2,000 sunshine hours per annum, making it  the sunniest spot on New Zealand's South Island's West Coast. And giving it the title of "the winterless north" on the West Coast of the New Zealand's South Island.

The overall West Coast region is around 600 kilometres (373 miles) long and Karamea is the most northern end, at the road end.  Unlike the far south with its 8 metres (315 inches) per year of rainfall. Karamea's temperate climate produces just over 1500mm (59 inches) of rain per year, just enough to keep the palm trees, tree ferns and the forest lush and green.

It is also comforting to know that New Zealand, because of it's isolated geographic location has no dangerous animals or insects and no snakes whatsoever. In fact the worst thing you are likely to come across in the forest is 'Sandflies', their bite can be quite irritating but insect repellent stops them biting and becoming an annoyance.

We think you'll agree that Karamea is a real, natural paradise.

Some recommended reading on Karamea

Some of the following books may be hard to obtain, especially if you are visiting our site from overseas. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like to secure some local reading before arriving in Karamea, or if you can wait (and would like a good read while on holiday) we do have a supply of some of these books available for purchase at the Last Resort.

  • North West Nelson Tramping Guide, by Derek Shaw. Published by Nikau Press, Box 602. Nelson.
  • Buller Walks, by Terry Sumner. Published by Nikau Press.
  • Karamea A Story of Success, Editor Dulcie Harmon. Published by Karamea Centennial Committee.
  • Department of Conservation publications include specific track details.
  • The Heaphy & its People, by Barry Chalmers.

Email About Books on Karamea


The Last Resort is proud to be an Official Partner of the Old Ghost Road, a member of the NZ Cycle Trail.