Honeycomb Cave

Oparara Caves - Oparara's Honeycomb Caves - Honeycomb Hill Caves

Useful Information

Location: Kahurangi National Park, 16 km from Karamea.
One hour walk to the entrance. Tours meet at the 2nd car park in the Oparara Basin.
(-41.151282, 172.190694)
Open: by appointment.
Fee: Adults NZD 65, Children (-14) NZD 35.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave SpeleologyRiver cave
Light: none, the park supply helmets and lamps
Dimension: L=13 km.
Guided tours: D=3 h, L=1,000 m.
Address: Karamea Information Centre, Tel: +64-3-7826-652, Fax: +64-3-7826-654. E-mail: contact
Adventures Unlimited, 79 Waverly Street, Karamea, Tel: +64-3-7826-611, Fax: +64-3-7826-612. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1880s area known to early mapmakers.
1970s forest workers stumbled across the entrance to Honeyflow Stream.
1980s exploration by the Buller Caving Group.
1996 Kahurangi National Park created.


Honeycomb Hill Cave is famous for its size, huge passages and enormous chambers. Several times light from outside shines in, as the cave has 70 openings to the surface. This gives the cave its unique athmosphere and explains the name. The cave is a multilevel maze with an active level.

It was always open to animals, so numerous remains can be found. The subfossil bones are mainly of birds, very common are the bones of now extinct Moas. Nine different moa species could be identified. All together wore than 50 species, many of them extinct, have been recorded.

When the Buller Caving Group explored the cave in the 1980s, it became clear that this cave had the most varied collection of subfossil bird bones ever found in New Zealand. This led to international scientific interest and the involvment of the National Museum.

The speleothems include many different forms, like stalactites, stalagmites, moonmilk, shawls, and straws. The rare formations found in this cave are cave coral, petals, cave pearls, rimstone pools, and elephants feet.

The cave lies in Kahurangi National Park and is reached by a one hour walk through the fascinating rain rain forest of New Zealand. Moss covered trees, the typical fern trees and other endemic fauna make this a unique experience. Some views may be familiar, as some parts of "The Lord of the Rings" was filmed in this area.

The area has many karst features, some of them can be visite on a full day walk. Oparara limestone arch and Moira Gate are two limestone arches, natural bridges formed by the erosion of a cave. It is also possible to visit the Crazy Paving Caves.