Rawhiti Cave

  • Motupipi
  • Landmarks & Hotspots

Rawhiti Cave is nestled amongst the hillside of Dry Creek Valley not far from the Takaka township. With one of the largest cave entrances in New Zealand, it is also quite possibly the most diverse.

A limestone entrance is adorned with green and pink plants, moss, algae and stunning phytokarst formations, and inside the cave you’ll find twilight zone flora that is unparalleled elsewhere in the country.

An hour long walk through the valley (including a steep section near the end) will take you to the cave entrance and viewing platform, with an assembly of stalactites welcoming you as you reach the top. The stalactites are unique in that they grow towards the sun – this is called phytokarst and is a result of calcium carbonate deposits and plant growth on the cave formations. It is free to visit the cave.

How to get there: The caves are approximately a 15-minute drive from Takaka in Motupipi, and the walk begins at a dry river crossing near the signpost for the caves (don’t try to cross if the river is not dry). The track itself can be slippery after rainfall, so take care if it’s wet.

Photo credit: www.nelsontasman.nz.

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