This is a small collection of photos that I took on the Heaphy Track, a three to six day walk in the north-west of New Zealand's South Island.There isn't a huge variety of palms to be found, in fact there is only one, Rhopalostylis sapida , but there is alot of them.
The first part of the walk travels through rather typical beech forest, and some very nice open grasslands, where it is thought that the Maouri hunted the moa.These grasslands are crisscrossed by tannin coloured streams which gives them a very desolate feel.
It is only on the last stretch of the track where it gets close to the Tasman Sea, and the rainforest starts, that the palms appear. It would appear that they like the increased rainfall, and milder climate of these areas. This section is the nicest of the track, with the palms, massive epiphyte laden trees, and crystal clear streams crossing the path andrunning into the Heaphy River. Some parts also have large crumbling limestone bluffs adjoining tha path, covered in climbers and tree rootsinter-twining thru through the rock, giving it a very Indiana Jones'ish kind of feel.
It isn't necessary to walk the entire track to see the palms, you can just start at the western end (its a short cab ride from the town of Karamea). There is a very attractive palm walk at the start of the track at this end, but this doesn't compare to the full 2 day walk thru the palm section of the track, although it is considerably quicker and easier. For anyone contemplating walking the track, I would heartily recommend it. It was one of the nicest walks we did in New Zealand, passing through a wide variety of countryside, and devoid of any difficult sections. I would recommend walking from east to west, because that leaves the palm section, which is the prettiest, till last, thus always giving you something to look forward to.
Figure 1.Where the Heaphy River meets the Tasman Sea.
Note the palms on the hill over the river.
Figure 2. Looking back from the mouth of the Heaphy River.
Figure 5. Looking down the track.
Figure 8. Goodbye from the Heaphy Track
Contributed by: Mike Gray (Figure 1-8)