Kahurangi National Park is the second largest national park in New Zealand. In Maori the name means treasured possession and to locals its most certainly that. Designated a national park in 1996 the park includes the Tasman wilderness area, an area with no huts or tracks that remains completely undeveloped. Kahurangi holds a special place in the history of Absolute Wilderness too, Grant and Andrew came up with the idea for Absolute Wilderness sitting beside an alpine tarn deep within the park.
With numerous areas of limestone and marble the caving potential in Kahurangi is virtually unlimited. Both the longest and the deepest cave systems in New Zealand are found within the park. Advances in cave exploration may mean the park one day has the longest and deepest caves in the southern hemisphere.
Now open to mountain bikers for part of the year, the Heaphy Track provides some of the best multi day mountain biking in the country. The track is also the oldest in the park and the only great walk. Recently Takahe were released on Gouland Downs, this is the first release on the mainland outside of a fenced sanctuary and important conservation milestone.
Home to over half of all the plant species found in New Zealand, at least 60 unique species are only found within the park. The mountains in the north of the park are a stronghold for giant powelliphanta land snails. This incredible biodiversity is a result of the park largely missing any significant glaciation during the last ice age. Whilst most species have been documented, new species are still occasionally discovered.
Although the Wangapeka track is entirely within the national park there is the very real threat of a road been built along the length of the track. Not only would a road destroy the track completely it would cut the park in two and have an detrimental impact on the wildlife found in the area.
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