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Lake Hanlon, Karamea

Lake Hanlon, Karamea

Those willing to tackle the long journey to Karamea are rewarded with some awesome sights, including the Oparara Arches and Scotts Beach, but is there anything else worth seeing in the area? Yes, there are, and Lake Hanlon is one of the best to visit. It’s a short walk through the forest to a beautiful reflective lake – keep reading to find out more!

Getting to Lake Hanlon

The Lake Hanlon Track is accessed via the main road to Karamea. It’s around 20 minutes south of town and is close to Little Wanganui Beach.

A Forest Walk

It takes around 30 minutes to walk to Lake Hanlon and back and it’s a fairly easy walk. There’s a little bit of uphill walking but it should be fine for most people, including kids. There isn’t a whole lot to see along the way but it’s a pleasant walk. Wear decent shoes as I’m sure this track gets muddy after rain (and it rains a lot on the West Coast).

Lake Hanlon

When we arrived at Lake Hanlon there were only two other people there – an older couple who were relaxing by the lake reading books. They chose wisely – it’s a such a relaxing spot and I’m sure it’s a special place to be when no one else is around.

There’s a small viewing platform where you’ll look out over the lake and, if you’re lucky, the trees surrounding the lake will be reflected in the calm water. There isn’t much to do at Lake Hanlon other than take a few photos and head back. Of course, if there’s no one around it’d be the perfect spot to sit for a while and reflect, but we thought we’d better leave the couple to it!

Other things to do nearby

Karamea is a cool little town and as I mentioned earlier, the Oporara Arches and Scotts Beach are iconic places that most will visit. There’s also a nice beach in Karamea – head there at night for an awesome sunset. Karamea is also the gateway to the Heaphy Track. You can walk a small section of it to Scotts Beach or organise to do the whole thing which will take 4-5 days.

Are you planning a South Island road trip? Check out our two-week itinerary!

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Jon Algie

I'm a South Island local -- born in Timaru and raised in Dunedin. I left the island in 2006 and returned 10 years later. Having seen a good chunk of the world I realised how special this place is -- the most beautiful island in the world! Seven years (and almost 400 posts) later I'm still helping locals and tourists alike plan their trips around the South Island.