It was to be another dirt road adventure today to visit the Oparara Limestone Arch, Crazy Paving and Box Canyon caves. Fourteen kilometres of what was originally a logging track through the Kahurangi National Park where logging ceased in 1976. Replanting native trees was started but all too late. Twenty five years later and the young Rimu and Rata trees are readily visible.
At the first car park we had a twenty five minute walk to the Limestone Arch. The arch which has been created by the flow of water is huge, 219m Long, 43m High, and 79m Wide. You can see through the arch which is more like a tunnel with a river running through it.
Further up the road we investigated the Crazy Paving and Box Canyon Caves. The Crazy Paving Cave, when found, had fossils and all sorts of strange living organism’s in the dried out mud on the floor. The head room in this cave was pretty low in places unlike the Box Canyon next door where it was hard to see the roof let alone touch it. Beautiful shapes in the Limestone rock had been carved by the rise and fall of water levels in the cave. I’m not sure if a river still flows through the cave but I certainly wouldn’t want to hang around in there if it started to rain as West Coast rivers can rise very rapidly.
Headroom in the Crazy Paving Cave was a bit low.Floor of the Crazy Paving Cave made up of dried mud.Oparara Box Canyon caves eroded away by water.Imagine all sorts of designs in the Oparara Box Canyon Cave.
After our caving experience we headed back to the main road where the final destination is Kohaihai. This is definitely the end of the road on the West Coast The last 4km’s is again a dirt road finishing up at the Department of Conservation reserve on the estuary of the Kohaihai river. Here there are miles of golden sands but they shelve away very steeply so are not suited to swimming. It is also the beginning or end of the Heaphy Track through the Kahurangi National Park to near Collingwood, a good 4 - 6 day hike.