Karamea is located some 100 kms north of Westport and is one of New Zealandís most remote and isolated locations. You have to go to Karamea, and unless you walking the Heaphy Track you cannot pass through. The road to Karamea from Westport includes climbing over 800 metrs over the Radiant Ranges. A climb and decent to match the Takaka Hill.
The Oparara River runs through the area, and the Oparara Basin Arches, large natural river tunnels are a well-known tourist destination, though tourism, given the remoteness in the area is limited.
The first Europeans and Chinese were early gold-miners in the 1860s. The first true settlement of the area took place in 1874 when the (then) fine harbour and sea provided the only means of contact with the outside world.