Nikau Walk

Nikau Walk - Kahurangi National Park

Nikau Walk

Kahurangi National Park

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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Crossing the river at Kohaihai


985 m return | 50 minutes return

Welcome to the Jungle! The abundance of nikau palms lends a jungle-like quality to the forest and you almost expect snakes to dangle from the branches and monkeys to dance around the tree tops. Occasional bird chatter, the salt-lade wind and the running of the stream are however likely to be the only noises encountered.


Kohaihai is 16 km north of Karamea at the southern end of the Heaphy Track. The start of the loop track is signposted just after crossing the bridge over the Kohaihai River.


This can be rough in places with floods and winds making it a difficult track to maintain to a good standard. There is a short cut signposted half way through which returns to the main track 2 minutes from the start point. Or continue on the main loop track, which passes a particularly impressive rata, guarded by nikau sentinels.


The entire track network passes through a forest of nikau palms. The nikau is the most southerly naturally growing palm in the world, with leaves up to 3 metres long and 2 metres wide. The coral-like flowers grow on spikes below the crown and above the trunk, ringed by closely spaced leaf scars. It takes 20 years for a nikau to get out of the ground. It then looses 3-4 fronds per year, each leaving an equatorial scar. So to age a tree, count the scars, divide by 3 or 4 and add 20. Voila.


Feature Value Info


DOC West Coast

Central government organisation


South IslandWest CoastKaramea


  • Walking
  • Free


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DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

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Cymen Crick