New Zealand // The West Coast //

Kohaihai River

Visitors with no aspirations to tramp the full length of Heaphy Track can sample the final few coastal kilometres from the mouth of the Kohaihai River, where there’s river (but not sea) swimming, a beautifully sited DOC campsite ($6) and an abundance of maddening sandflies (consider buying sandfly “armour” – close-weave mesh jackets, from $30 – and a range of other protective gear from Westport’s i-SITE). In the heat of the day, you’re much better off across the river in the cool of the Nikau Walk (30–45min loop), which winds through a shady grove dense with nikau palms, tree ferns and magnificent gnarled old rata dripping in epiphytes. When it cools off, either continue along the Heaphy to Scott’s Beach (1hr 30min return), or stick to the southern side of the Kohaihai River and the Zig-Zag Track (35min return), which switchbacks up to an expansive lookout.

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