Karamea – March 24-28 (Easter)
Report By Peter McCusker
About 15 enthusiastic NPS photographers braved the chaotic Easter traffic to arrive at the Karamea Holiday Park for an Easter weekend of fun, sandflies, exercise, lattes and the odd bit of photography. They were not to be disappointed.
Many arrived on the Thursday night and explored the Heaphy track on Good Friday tramping through to Scotts Beach. This provided a good workout and a beautiful introduction to Karamea being a walk studded with Nikau Palms, Karaka and Rata trees finishing at Scotts beach with big surf running. Bob our trip organizer would be the first to photograph Blue Ducks late in the day on the Kohaihai River.
Saturday had our group heading for the Fenian Track and Cavern Creek Caves. With the weather being a balmy 24 degrees it proved to a bit of a slog especially for those who explored the caves. There were however good reasons to stop and photograph with several different types of fungi and numerous friendly Robins. Sad to see some serious wind damage to native trees caused by Cyclone Ita back in April 2014.
Sunday was probably the highlight for me, going back to the Oparara Basin area for the first time in a dozen years or more. This area is now well and truly on the DOC and tourist radar which has pluses and minuses. A greatly improved access road, excellent toilets and information with more and improved walking tracks exploring stunning moss covered rainforest. An excellent pest control programme is underway in the area hence the good number of native birds spotted. Our eagle eyed Ken Muscroft-Taylor spotted our second sighting of Blue Ducks on the Oparara River. A great day was had by all but I found it not the easiest to photograph the limestone caves on a busy weekend with lots of people moving in and out of my shot.
On Monday most of our group headed for home and for those that stopped off at Punakaiki were entertained by a big sea and spectacular blowholes.
All in all a very enjoyable Easter weekend at a relaxing and friendly camping ground. A big thank you to our trip leader Bob Wright for organizing this.