I always wanted to go to Karamea. Not many people have been there unless they are doing the Heaphy track.
Two reasons. One, my Hygienist (Kirsty) who had previously worked for me always asked in conversation “have you ever been to Karamea ?” Kirsty is a very good clinician and was from Karamea. Two, my mentor and photographer John Foster recommended I go there when I was planning a photographic road trip a few years ago. John now does photographic tours around the South Island and I appreciate that he was willing to share information on the best sites for photography.
This is the reason I planned 3 nights there – I had enough time to have a good look around.
It all starts after completing what I think is the longest windiest (as in curvy) highway in NZ. And I thought it was a simple straight drive up the coast. So what starts you may ask.
Its the hand waving. Everyone you see driving past waves hello and we wave back, one hand up, one hand down. I’m thinking, this is nice.
Glad there aren’t many cars on the road as the workman will never get the job done.
Everyone we meet is welcoming, helpful and friendly. You know the movies. The cowboy walks into the bar and there is sudden silence with a hundred murdering eyes staring at him. Then he goes to the bar and say “whisky, Jim Beam”. Then everyone relaxes.
I go to the bar , those in front turn around and offer me a smile and would probably shake my hand if I extended it.
The barman asks what it will be. Being a townie from Wellington, I ask, got any craft beer? Big mistake.
Fortunately the bartender is friendly and apologetic and points to the Monteiths, and the beer on tap.
I order a DB draught, or was it a Lion Brown on tap? Big mistake. They haven’t changed from my University days and we use to call it p*ss. Some things never change.
However I did find what I consider the tastiest meat pie in NZ. There is only one cafe in Karamea (Vinnies) and only 3 places to have dinner. I can proudly say I been to them all. Back to the meat pie. I love mince pies. I don’t understand the NZ obsession with Cheese and Mince pies. These are the ones that win the best pie awards. Cheese is for ham, or pineapple, or tomatoes but not beef….. Anyway Vinnies make a stunning mince pie There was at least one and a half inch thickness of filling and a very thin flaky pastry case. The mince itself was like mum would do. Mince cut up finely, onions, vegetables added to become a savoury mince and the gravy just stayed within the meat and didn’t flow out. This definitely wasn’t a railways pie of old- bits of meat, gristle and gravy with rubbery pastry.
Even Sally enjoyed it and she normally doesn’t eat pies. She has a healthy lunch.
For more about Karamea check out this article I discovered on Stuff:
Anyone who is familiar with my website knows that if something impresses me , I want to photograph it.
The more images you see the more impressive the moment was for me. Karamea you get top spot for my holiday.
My only regret is I did not photograph the mince pie with my phone.
Looks like I have to return.
1. View from Little Wanganui
2. Mirror Tarn Oparara Basin
3. Moira Gate Arch Oparara Basin
4. Moira Gate Arch
5. Moira Gate Arch
6. Oparara Arch