Leaving civilization from Nelson.
The first thing to know about driving the Karamea is that the ride is almost as good as the destination itself. Heading out from Nelson (the nearest major population centre) we find ourselves immersed in an exhilarating three-and-a-half hours of mountain climbs in our 350 SL Roadster as we head into the breathtaking Buller River Gorge and out to the west coast. We leave behind Nelson’s wineries, art galleries and restaurants and plunge deep into nature’s realm. Squeezing under giant uplifted rock outcrops like Hawks Crag and roaring through tunnel-like dense forest overhangs, this is the perfect build-up to that moment when we emerge onto the coast and roll into the remote township of Westport, the entry point to the Karamea Highway and our logical overnight stop. This is also the place to provision up for any adventure, sport, hunting or fishing activities along the Karamea Highway.
It’s a very remote part of New Zealand’s South Island and it is sacred country, home of the brave, so best to be prepared. There’s plenty to see and plenty to do so we take an early meal and an early night.