Spring Holidays 2020: Oparara Valley

What a beautiful day in the Opararas, have been there several times but today was special!

Morning at Karamea, almost ready to leave for another adventure.
The road leads us into the Oparara Valley, where the first wild animal that we encounter is the endangered Powelliphanta snail.
There are at least 16 species and 57 sub-species of Powelliphanta – which represent some of the most distinctive invertebrates in New Zealand.The largest species is Powelliphanta superba prouseorum, found in Kahurangi National Park and measuring about 9 cm across.
A very cautious but hungry weka. No, we never feed the wild ones!
First goal will be to see the arches in the valley, second, walk the caves.
Enchanted forest, I only say.
The first> Oparara Arch. It’s a bit hard to picture because of the dimensions, the arch is almost 50 m wide, 200 m long and is up in 37 m height. Unless you leave the track or unhinge your head it’s quite impossible to do well lol
Impression of the cave complete with stalaktites, a girl, the arch and the actual cave opening.
This nice guy was pointing at the ceiling for me.
The “other end” of the cave.
Another wide with the cave entrance.
The beautiful tannin stained Oparara River.
As vegetation decays, tannins seep into the ground water or drain into lakes and streams, making a transparent, acidic water that is darkly stained, resembling black tea.
On the river bank.
On goes the walk, next stop> Moria Gate Arch.
There’s so much to see that we take double the time than was proposed as duration.
Moria Gate from the entrance (which is basically a small hole in the ground, through which you climb down)
Looking both directions
through the bow.
A side cave also looks interesting. If we find any wetas?
Nah, completely empty.
That’s the hole I was talking about.
And from the outside.
While these guys just hang on there.
Path of discovery.
E.g. the mirror tarn.
Or this beautiful climbing plant often found on the sheltered side of tree trunks.
Stop three> Crazy paving cave… Home of cave spiders, saw some egg sacks, genuinely crawly.
Nicely paved too.
And just around the corner…

a winding path to stop 4> Box Cave
The entrance is hidden and you wouldn’t know it’s there without the path leading behind the rocks.
Then, suddenly, it reveals itself.
Quite big too.
And a weta lives there! None of the giant ones, but still big as my hand if you count the stretched sensors.
Leaving this spaelological wonderland.
Sundown race :D
And right there they are: Summer feelings! If you ignore the rather chill wind (that you can’t see on the pics, luckily)
Bye for now!
See you later at dinner.
Outside of the Last Resort, last walk back to the room.