Kahurangi National Park

New Zealand's second-largest national park, Kahurangi is 1.1 million acres of marbled mountains with fluted rock forms, arches, shafts, and sinkholes (featured in the Lord of the Rings films), remote river gorges, alpine tops, beech forests and coastal rain forests, and designated wilderness areas where no development or helicopter access is allowed. There are more than 350 miles of hiking tracks of various levels of difficulty, including the longest Great Walk, the Heaphy Track. Whitewater rafting and kayaking here is suitable for experienced paddlers and beneath the park are the deepest caving systems in the southern hemisphere. These are for serious cavers. Two of several entry points to the park are in Golden Bay, one into the Cobb Valley and the other 35 km (21 miles) west of Takaka, south of the town of Collingwood, which leads to the northern head of the Heaphy Track. The Department of Conservation Golden Bay Area Office (www.doc.govt.nz) provides local trail maps.

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