Kohaihai is approximately 15km drive north of Karamea. The famous Heaphy Track starts or finishes at the mouth of the Kohaihai River, next to the shelter. The other entrance to the Heaphy is 28kms out of Collingwood in the Golden Bay, which is further north. Kohaihai has a picture perfect beach and the scenery is breathtaking. There is a Department of Conservation (DOC) camping site with good parking, public toilets, rubbish collection and picnic table.
There is no shopping available in Kohaihai so make sure you come well prepared. Shopping can be done in nearby Karamea, which is only a 20-minute drive south.
Kohaihai – kowhai a flowering tree
Karamea – red ochre or spear grass
Kohaihai, Buller, South Island, New Zealand 4 Heaphy Track starting point.
Attractions and Activities
Kohaihai is more than just the starting or finishing point for the Heaphy Track. The scenery is awesome with the beautiful backdrop of the Kahurangi National Park, the Tasman Sea and the Kohaihai River. The River mouth is an exciting place, where the surging fresh water crashes into the salt water through a narrow gap.
The area is great for picnics and there is plenty of space for many outdoor recreational activities to be undertaken.
The Kohaihai River offers safe swimming and great for rafting or kayaking.
Kohaihai, Buller, South Island, New Zealand 1
Kohaihai River and Heaphy Track in Kahurangi National Park.
See the swing bridge at the start of the Heaphy Track, which enters into the sub tropical forest, where nikau palms can be seen as well as many rata and karaka trees. A 1-hour walk through the forest and over the Kohaihai Saddle will take you to Scott’s Beach, a lovely unspoilt beach, which is great for fishing. There is a coastal lookout at the Kohaihai Saddle with magnificent views of the coastline.
There is a short walk on a zigzag track leading you to a great vantage point overlooking the Kohaihai River mouth, Tasman Sea and forest covered hills. A small sign indicates the track well before the swing bridge.
Kohaihai, Buller, South Island, New Zealand 3
Close up view of the Bluffs cliff formation.