A Hike Along the Maori’s Sacred River of Kahurangi National Park
We admit it. Today, we don’t have much of a plan other than finding some awesome activity for us to do. We’re not worried though. This is New Zealand, after all. Plus, we are on the edge of two amazing national parks, the Abel Tasman and the Kahurangi.
We’re currently staying on the very edge of the Abel Tasman in a small town called Marahau. The Barn Backpackers is the last accommodation before entering the park from the most popular entry point.
Finding something to do in Kahurangi National Park
So, it seems pretty obvious that we should do a hike in the Abel Tasman, but as we have three days planned in there, we thought we’d check out the Kahurangi – the national park that doesn’t get much lovin’ compared to its neighbour.
After a winding hillside drive to Motueka for some groceries, we then head to the Riwaka Resurgence 25 minutes from Motueka. It’s a really short hike on the edge of the Kahurangi National Park that take you to the resurgence of the Riwaka River. Sounds good enough to class as our activity for today, right?
A Maori welcoming
The entrance to the walk is marked with an archway decorated with carvings of Maori gods, each with a paua shell eye. An information board beside the archway describes how the Riwaka Resurgence is a sacred place for the local iwi (tribe) and tells the Maori legend of the river.
The wild forest of Kahurangi
The walking track follows the Riwaka River the whole way to the resurgence. All the while, we’re surrounded by thick forest. We take a moment to stop on the pathway and see how far through the forest we can see. Not very far… Although we would not like to get lost in here, we can’t deny it is very beautiful.
Trees grow from trees growing from rocks and soil. Vines and moss coat anything they can get their green fingers onto.
Rain drops fallin’ on our head
Just as we begin to appreciate how much water this rainforest receives, guess what? It starts raining big fat drops! It’s like our Promised Land hike all over again!
No worries, we carry on knowing that the resurgence is not too far away.
Checking out the clear water under the rain
A rapid-filled riwaka River
There are three small lookouts and openings next to the Riwaka River, just so you can have a look at the river before you see where it comes from. The river rushes over mossy boulders creating rapids. The biggest rapid of all is a classic New Zealand waterfall! (New Zealand has no lack of waterfalls).
The Riwaka Resurgence
A fenced lookout and some stairs down to the river indicated that we’ve reached the Riwaka Resurgence. Here it is! The water seems to appear from a small cave under the mountain. The water looks like it is still in a two metre radius around the cave before it hits some rocks to become the rapid-filled Riwaka River we have just seen.
We try our best to get photos for you guys under the rain, but no images could do the beauty of this place justice.
There’s another special geographical feature ticked off our list. Now we head back to the entrance, where there is a picnic shelter for a quick cup of tea before we hit the road back to Marahau.
Taking the coastal road
We have two options to get back to Marahau: the winding hillside road we took to get here, or the winding coastal road via Kaiteriteri. Why not try the road we haven’t taken? This is what travelling is all about!
Cruising through Kaiteriteri
Kaiteriteri is another popular access point to the Abel Tasman National Park with numerous boats and water taxis taking people into the park. Not only that, but Kaiteriteri’s beach is a good taste of the beaches found in the national park, with its golden sand and coastal cliffs.
Admittedly, it doesn’t seem as paradise-like in the pouring rain, but that doesn’t (and shouldn’t) stop a family of Kiwis hopping onto their boats to go on a trip.
Another gnarly road in New Zealand
So we thought that the hillside road to Marahau was winding. It is nothing compared to the coastal road, which is not only winding but alarmingly narrow! We just take it easy and enjoy the views as we go. No big deal.
Back at the Barn and ready for Abel Tasman
Back alive and well at the Barn Backpackers, we warm back up by the fire and have a chilled night. It happens. We chill out from time to time.
Tomorrow, Abel Tasman. We’re joining our friends at Abel Tasman Eco Tours once again for a boat trip into the national park. The weather is forecast to be awesome (Yes, that’s the words used on the weather report) and we are finally going to get to see one of the most famous and beautiful coasts in New Zealand. Join us then!
Keeping out of the rain at the Riwaka River
Keeping out of the rain at the Riwaka River
Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Keeping out of the rain at the Riwaka River Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Awesome! Then we have heaps more articles to show you!
- Kahurangi National Park – Guide for Backpackers
- Tasman and Golden Bay – Guide for Backpackers
- Abel Tasman National Park – Guide for Backpackers
See you tomorrow!