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Karamea

Karamea is a town on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand.It is the northernmost settlement of any real size on the West Coast, and is located 96km north-east by road from Westport. There is no other connecting road to the town - the road north ends at the Kohaihai River some 20km from Karamea, at the south western end of the Heaphy Track. The Karamea River flows past the town to the south and into the Karamea Bight, part of the Tasman Sea.The population was 423 in the 2006 Census, a decline of 18 from 2001.The name Karamea is Maori - despite local jokes suggesting it was named by an Italian for his love - and is thought to either mean "red ochre" or be a corruption of Kakarataramea, "the smell of speargrass leaves". The large bay formed by the curve of coastline north for 100km from Cape Foulwind is called Karamea Bight.The Oparara River runs through the area, and the Oparara Basin Arches, large natural river tunnels, are a well-known tourist destination, though tourism in the area is limited compared to most other parts of New Zealand. The Karamea River flows into the sea just south of the main township, and there is a large lagoon which completely clears of water at low tide, and completely fills with water at high tide.
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