10 Mile Valley – the Secret Life of Trees

A walk up 10 mile valley

The 10 mile valley just down from Breakers is one of our favourite walks.

limestone cliffs 10 mile valley

With towering limestone cliffs and native bush galore it is a magic sight.

valley of the forest 10 mile valley

There are so many stunning trees and views in all directions – it just takes your breath away.

looking down into 10 mile valley

lighting up 10 mile valley

Mr Rimu tree you make my heart go boom, boom, boom.

Lone rimu tree 10 mile valley

Rimu tree

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoy getting out and about and exploring their region. For ideas on things to see and do check out their other blog postings or visit the activities page on their website.

Posted in Nature, NZ flora and fauna, outdoors, photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

St James Cycleway – Fowlers Hut to Fowlers Pass

Historic Fowlers Hut

St James cycleway  to Fowlers Pass

Wowzie, wowzie, wowzie – talk about back country gorgeousness – is that a word? Who cares this was truly stunning.

views to alpine lake St James cycleway

St James cycleway is a back country mountain bike trek in the back of Lewis Pass and Hanmer Springs. We were cycling a very very small part of it.

Nico enjoying running St James cycleway

To describe it as beautiful just doesn’t do it justice – this area of NZ is absolutely stunning. Am I gushing – heck yes. Am I bias – most probably but seriously take a look for yourself…….

St James conservation area

St James cycleway Fowlers Pass

St James cycleway trail

Rolling tussock land in every direction. Towering mountains. Scree slopes. You don’t need much imagination to see why Peter Jackson choose NZ back country for the back drop for his Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies.

alpine meadows atop Fowlers Pass

mtb St James conservation area

We were in Hanmer Springs for the weekend – some great single track riding to be had but had been advised to take a drive and try something a little bit different. We never seem to have much time and this suggestion fitted right in with our time constraints.

Heading out of Hanmer Springs and up Jacks Pass and into the St James high country station. We were aiming for the historic Fowlers Hut – sitting right by the road side and only around 20kms of gravel roads from Hanmer village. The contrast in scenery is amazing. Biking at Hanmer itself you’re in plantation forest – out here it is high country with alpine lakes, mountain peaks, crystal clear rivers (a fisherman’s paradise!), alpine meadows and expansive grassy river flats. The drive itself was spectacular but we were going to be getting right in amongst it.

peaks of St James cycleway

Our ride wasn’t going to be huge – didn’t want it to be having the dogs with us also but it was a climb. A steady climb for around 6kms, the narrow trail slowly winding its way up around the mountain to reach Fowlers Pass at 1296 metres.

views down valley St James cycleway

views St James cycleway and vallies

There were a couple of steeper pinches – more noticeable for me as I haven’t had much riding this summer season but generally it was just a gentle gradient with plenty of photo opportunities and good excuses for stops to catch my breath.

dogs enjoying mtb run St James

The boys were in seventh heaven – perfect pace for them, running along side us or between us as usually Stephen was in front – considerably!

high country mtbing St James
climbing up Fowlers Pass St James cycleway

Jan & dogs with high country views St James

Finally the top of the pass is reached and the views – wow, wow, wow. This truly has to be God’s country! We take a peek over the back where the trail leads. When asking how will we know when to turn around the reply was “if you start doing steep switchbacks you’ve gone too far and are on your way down the other side”. Ah yep these are definite steep switchbacks we can see – so steep you can’t even see where the trail goes – it just disappears down below somewhere. We’ll save that for another day.

looking down towards Stanley Vale

Fowlers Pass St James cycleway

Now though…… back down the way we came. Our reward for the climb up – to go back down. Wahoo. Stephen typically barrels ahead. I don’t like to go too fast as I don’t want the boys running too fast – too hard on their bodies. They are super sensible though and know the rules – stay in behind Mum. There are some compulsory photo stop breaks on the way down and drinking stops for the boys too. This scenery though – could soak that up all day.

dogs enjoying back country run

mountain biking up Fowlers Pass

atop Fowlers Pass St James cycleway

mtb back country St James

Ziggy in creek Fowlers Pass

Jan in creek Fowlers Pass

Magic. Paradise. God’s country. Heaven.

cycling through Alpine meadows St James cycleway

Grins from ear to ear. St James Cycleway thanks for the leg stretch – we’ll be back to explore you some more real soon.

Fowlers Historic Hut with dogs St James cycleway

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. Together with their faithful companions Nico and Ziggy, they enjoy getting out and about and exploring and sharing their adventures. See their other postings for ideas on things to see and do when visiting New Zealand.

Posted in cycling, Dalmatian, dogs, German Shorthaired Pointer, Mountain biking New Zealand, Nature, NZ flora and fauna, outdoors, photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Motukeikei Rocks – a Photographer’s Paradise

motukeikei rocks

Recently we had all of our guests staying two nights and with flexible itineraries on their “free” day and perfect tides we decided to share one of our favourite spots with them all – the Motukeikei Rocks.

views to motukeikei rocks

Maori chief and other rocks motukeikei beach

Off in convoy to our parking spot and secret track we careful made our way down to the beach. With the first sighting of the rocks there were lots of “oohs and aaahs” and “wow” from everyone. Cameras were click, click, clicking frantically. Little further to go and we’re on the beach down amongst the rock formations.

a walk on the motukeikei beach

rabbit rock motukeikei

It was a beautiful morning with clearing skies but enough cloud formations around to make the skies interesting and give the whole scene some depth.

Motukeikei beach

Maori chief off motukeikei

Everyone took their time soaking up the moment and the fantastic views. It is a photographer’s paradise down here and you often see photographers here trying to capture that perfect photo.

photograph time motukeikei beach

enjoying the views motukeikei beach

Aside from the huge rock formations there some wonderful tidal pools. They weren’t as accessible as normal as it was an unusually high low tide but Stephen still managed to pick his way across the rocks to get some good photos of the swimming seaweed and the numerous starfish that get to call this area home.

swimming seaweed motukeikei beach

seaweed motukeikei beach

Motukeikei starfish

Many of the rocks have a covering that looks like green velvet and some of the rock pools a covering to look like green carpet. The contrasts are amazing and the beauty is breath-taking.

green velvet rocks motukeikei beach

green carpet on the motukeikei rocks

Soon we left everyone to their own devices – not before a quick photo shoot with Margaret and June our friends visiting from the US.

Margaret, Jan and June on Motukeikei rocks

Stephen, the boys and myself headed off to the south, back towards Breakers Boutique Accommodation. At this end of the beach there was not another soul – so peaceful and serene.

Jan and boys enjoying a meander on the Motukeikei beach

Nico managed to find himself a water hole to cool down in, while Ziggy was Ziggy at this best and was just enjoying running on the beach – sand between his toes – of course that is us humanising him but I’m sure it does feel good all the same.

Nico enjoying a cooling off motukeikei beach

Ziggy enjoying his run motukeikei beach

The Motukeikei beach never ceases to amaze me – so majestic and such incredible beauty. With shear cliff-faces, sandy beaches towards the rock pools, rock pools, starfish, huge masses of seaweed, towering rock formations and stoney beaches closer to the cliff-faces there is certainly something to satisfy everyone.

stoney beach motukeikei

stoney beaches motukeikei beach

But where is this exactly you’re thinking – well can’t tell you that cos then I’d have to kill you……. it’s our secret spot. Come stay, come play and we’ll share it with you :-)

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. The coastal drive from Greymouth to Westport has been voted one of the top ten coastal drives in the world and the West Coast one of the top ten regions to visit in the world by Lonely Planet. Might be time to come and see for yourself just what all the fuss is about.

Posted in beaches, dogs, Nature, NZ flora and fauna, outdoors, photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Reefton Rodeo – Yeehaw!

Another great afternoon out this time to the first Rodeo we’ve ever gone to – Reefton Rodeo and wow what an awesome event for spectators. I’m sure the competitors were having a great time too but I’m pretty sure my bones will be feeling better than theirs this morning.

horse riding reefton rodeo

(to the tune of Garth Brooks singing “Good Ride Cowboy” – thanks to MetroLyrics)
From the hills of Kaycee, Wyoming
Where life’s wooly and wild
Came a navy brat in a cowboy hat
And that Copenhagen smile

And from buckin’ broncs to honky tonks
He always sang a cowboy’s song
We were much too young, havin’ too much fun
As we all sang along

Reefton rodeo calf riding

bucking bull riding reefton rodeo

riding the bulls reefton rodeo

We sang ‘Life’s A Highway’
There’s only one way you’re gonna get through it
When she starts to twist be more like Chris
Pull your hat down tight and just LeDoux it

bull riding reefton rodeo

hitting the dirt reefton rodeo

From gold buckles to gold records
Once again he was spinnin’ ’round
Took the whole world on
And he turned us on to that Western Underground

grumpy steer reefton rodeo

Steer riding reefton rodeo

And from Bareback Jack to This Cowboy’s Hat
The songs were stronger than his pain
He would not slow down from town to town
Like children running through the rain

ridem cowgirl reefton rodeo

sheep riding cowgirl reefton rodeo

cowgirl down reefton rodeo

We sang ‘Life’s A Highway’
There’s only one way you’re gonna get through it
When she starts to twist be more like Chris
Pull your hat down tight and just LeDoux it

heading down reefton rodeo

one up to the bull reefton rodeo

When that whistle blows
And that crowd explodes
And them pickup men are at your side
They tell you good ride cowboy, good ride

cowboys reefton rodeo

horse catchers reefton rodeo

We sang ‘Life’s a Highway’
There’s only one way you’re gonna get through it
When she starts to twist be more like Chris
Pull your hat down tight and just LeDoux it

cowboy in the making reefton rodeo

little man down reefton rodeo
junior cowboy reefton rodeo

When that whistle blows
And that crowd explodes
And them pickup men are at your side
They tell you good ride cowboy, good ride

sheep riding reefton rodeo

cowboy sheep riding reefton rodeo

Bet he cross that river Jordan
With St. Peter on the other side
Singin’, ‘Good Ride Cowboy, Good Ride’
Say, ‘Good Ride Cowboy, Good Ride’

barrel race Reefton rodeo

cowboy with his ropes reefton rodeo

cowboy and his horse reefton rodeo

Fantastic effort by all the competitors and great crowd participation. Some stunning animals – the bulls, the horses, the sheep – and the animals were definitely the winners!

down on the dirt reefton rodeo

Can’t wait till next year…….

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoy getting out and about and exploring the many wonders that make up the West Coast of the Southern Alps and experiencing the cool things there are to see and do here.

Posted in Nature, NZ Accommodation, outdoors, photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Old Ghost Road – Some West Coast Scenery at her Best

Wow!!!

views down mokihinui river old ghost road mtb track

views down to Mokihinui river

gorgeous creeks old ghost road mtb track

Had the good fortune to head off for a bike ride with my lovely husband and explore some new countryside – deep in the Northern West Coast – Buller region or Seddonville/Mokihinui to be more precise. This is north of Westport but staying on the West Coast.

The Old Ghost Road – a true NZ back country mountain bike experience. This has always been a tramping track for experienced hikers but thanks to a very dedicated and passionate group of people it has been opened up for advanced mountain bikers. It is still a work in progress but eventually it will be ridable all the way through to Lyell – inland from Westport heading towards Murchison.

The few who had the vision and those responsible for the re-build of this trail need to be congratulated big time. These photos pretty much sum up the beauty of the ride. It really is world-class for biking and tramping.

forest section old ghost road mtb track

Given my lack of time on a bike lately we were just aiming to go as far as the legs would allow and turn around again – maybe a 2 hour bike ride….. secretly though I really wanted to make it to the first hut Specimen Point Hut. It’s only 15 kms in and even though it isn’t a particularly climby track, it is quite taxing – very bumpy and sometimes the little ups take more out of you than the grinding hill climbs – well I find anyway – one of those that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it moments…..

old ghost road mtb track

This is a very narrow track with huge drop-offs in places – you don’t want to be loosing your balance and putting your foot down in the wrong place – good night nurse! It is all about riding sensibly though – to your ability and not trying to be a hero. I’m the first to admit there were a few times I got off and walked – they weren’t hard sections but my brain was getting a little fuzzy and the co-ordination was slipping a bit at times. Nothing that a stop and refuel didn’t help fix.

through the boulders old ghost road

Beautiful probably isn’t a descriptive enough word for this ride and the surroundings – it is almost unimaginably beautiful – if that could be possible. Certainly has plenty of wow – not quite around every corner but pretty darn close. Even the bush sections are stunning – almost felt like a dinosaur should be picking at the foliage from the trees. Thankfully they weren’t – I would have been having some good hallucinations then eh!

riding with dinasours old ghost road west coast

bush beauty old ghost road mtb track

This end of the track is a great trail of variations – one minute you are in the thick of the forest and the next out on a cliff-edge with wonderful views up the Mokihinui River. You can be riding right along side – although quite a drop off to the bottom. The water in places looks incredibly inviting – beautiful deep greens. There are numerous little creek crossings – great way to help cool you down.

dork in the creek crossing old ghost road mtb track

on the river old ghost road mtb track

scree slope old ghost road mtb track

cycling along edge mokihinui river

A couple of the suspension bridges take your breath away – not just the views but the mind plays those little tricks and I start thinking “hope they did a really good load test on this……” coming back (remember I’m getting tired now) I actually thought “what did Indiana Jones do when the bridge broke? Drop the bike and hang on for dear life” – yeah yeah I know. It’s ok I stopped just after this and refueled again!

swingbridge old ghost road mtb track

Stephen was great on this ride, constantly checking I was doing ok – I possibly told little white lies a couple of times but as I said above I really REALLY wanted to get to Specimen Point hut – I knew it would blow him away. Time was marching on though and we still had to bike back out. Crossing the second “suicide swingbridge” we met some runners and asked how much further to the hut – only about 3 maybe 4 kms to go. We can do it!!! There was a downhill section (uh oh going to have to climb back up that later….) and we could see the hut up on the hill on the other side of the creek. One more swingbridge and a gentle climb to reach it.

final swingbridge old ghost road mtb track

Wahoo!!!! How is this for a view.

river and valley views old ghost road

specimen point hut old ghost road mtb track

Quick bite to eat and time to head back out – we’re hoping it is going to be slightly more down than gradual up coming in thus making it a slighter quicker ride too. It is generally easier going back out than in – think maybe because you know where you are going – you have points of reference for where you are on the trail. Also it was more flat, gentle down – or seemed it anyway. I had a couple of wobbly moments – good indication of refuel time again to help get me to the end. Gu – you work wonders for me!

Final climb out and final downhill to the start of the track proper before just a km or there about of 4WD track back to the car – whoop, whoop Old Ghost Road Mokihinui end we love you and we’ll be back – hopefully real soon. (You can see by the look on someone’s face other than “Mums” – had enough, tired too! – think just wants dinner.)

mission complete old ghost road mtb track

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoy getting out and exploring the many things there are to see and do on the West Coast. Follow their blog and their adventures of the West Coast of the Southern Alps.

Posted in cycling, dogs, Mountain biking New Zealand, Nature, NZ flora and fauna, NZ history, outdoors, photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Millerton – a Mountain of History

Millerton views to Tasman Sea

One of the great things about NZ summers is our long evenings. Stephen and I were taking a little break from the B&B and had headed north to Granity in Buller Bay on the West Coast for a couple of nights. It was early evening by the time we arrived and we really wanted to make the most of our time away so headed up to Millerton for an evening explore and walk. Millerton is high in the mountains above Granity (north of Westport) – a historic coal mining area (yes another one!).

views out from millerton escarpment

Millerton was mined from the late 1800s through to the 1960s and is now mostly a ghost town although a few of the remaining houses are occupied but the hotels, shops etc are all long gone.

As with many of the old coal and gold mining regions on the West Coast the relics have been left behind and there is much exploring and walking to be done in the area. Millerton is definitely no exception – and one of the more beautiful areas on a good day thanks to the fantastic views.

views atop millerton escarpment

After the drive up the hill and to the “village” we follow the signs for the car park and information centre. From here you pretty much follow your nose – an obvious track leading off in the bush and around the numerous relics. It starts out with what we’d like to call the stairway to heaven – concrete steps in the middle of nothing and no-where leading to nothing and no-where. You certainly have to let your imagination do the talking here. These steps are a feat in themselves so there was obviously quite a lot in the area in its day.

stairway to heaven millerton incline

We take a walk around the old bathhouse – a good indication of the scale of the mining done as this thing is huge! or was anyway….. bits of old machinery still lying around to give you a good feel of yester-year.

relics historic bathhouse millerton

A short bush walk and more relics including some of the rails and derelict tunnels – a little collapsed but again still give you a good feel for the area and what was.

old railway coal tunnel millerton

Then we start our walk proper – the Millerton Escarpment walk – sounds interesting anyway. On doing a search Escarpment was the name of the mine or the workings. While this track is a single track you can see it was perhaps 4WD at one stage in places. Climb though, whew, thankfully got the hiking shoes on and not the flip-flops!

escarpment walk millerton

The boys enjoy the leg stretch – gives them an opportunity to have a good run around, although we never let them out of our sight so maybe run around isn’t the right word – definitely a leg stretch though – for us all actually.

Ziggy and Nico enjoying the outing Millerton

Onwards and upwards – worth it for the views alone. Being up here and looking back down at the village and right out to sea – wow, it is fantastic.

enjoying the views millerton escarpment walk

tasman sea views from millerton

Onwards some more and the track flattens temporarily before another climb begins. There are places where it is hard to see where the track actually goes – we have to stop and look ahead for the marker posts and guess the way on occasions.

walking escarpment millerton

walking escarpment walk millerton

This isn’t a loop track, we have to head back the same way we went up so time to turn around and make our way back down. Tummies are starting to rumble and we will eventually run out of daylight.

bush and sea views millerton escarpment walk

One more stop to do first though and that is the actual incline itself. A little further round the road – on the old original section of the road and there is a nice walk that takes you to the incline. Many of the coal bins have been left where they stood – a real telling tale of time gone by.

Millerton tunnel millerton incline

Millerton Incline and historic coal bins

And I was wrong – this time one more stop except this IS the one more stop before heading to our “house” for the night – Ngakawau beach for the sunset…… she is a beauty – just another gorgeous evening on the wonderful West Coast :-)

beach at Ngakawau Bullery Bay

sunset granity beach

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoy getting out and exploring the many wonderful things to see and do on the West Coast. Follow their blog or check out their activities page from their website for other ideas for things to see and do should you be looking at visiting the West Coast of the Southern Alps.

Posted in beaches, Dalmatian, dogs, German Shorthaired Pointer, Nature, NZ flora and fauna, NZ history, outdoors, photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Greymouth Rodders 40 Years 1973-2013 – Big Boys Toys Display

Jan and Bernie heading off on their Thelma and Louise adventure

(in the tune of the Beatles “Drive my Car”
Asked a girl what she wanted to be
She said, “Baby, can’t you see?
I wanna be famous, a star on the screen
But you can do something in between”

big boys toys (9)

big boys toys (6)

big boys toys (5)

Baby, you can drive my car
Yes, I’m gonna be a star
Baby, you can drive my car
And maybe I’ll love you

big boys toys (10)

big boys toys (8)

I told that girl that my prospects were good
And she said, “Baby, it’s understood
Working for peanuts is all very fine
But I can show you a better time”

big boys toys (11)

big boys toys (7)

Baby, you can drive my car
Yes, I’m gonna be a star
Baby, you can drive my car
And maybe I’ll love you

big boys toys (4)

big boys toys (3)

Beep beep’m, beep beep, yeah

big boys toys

Baby, you can drive my car
Yes, I’m gonna be a star
Baby, you can drive my car
And maybe I’ll love you

big boys toys (12)

Big boys toys

I told that girl, I can start right away
When she said, “Listen babe, I got something to say
I got no car and it’s breaking my heart
But I’ve found a driver and that’s a start”

big boys toys (13)

big boys toys (2)

Baby, you can drive my car
Yes, I’m gonna be a star
Baby, you can drive my car
And maybe I’ll love you

big boys toys (9)

Beep beep’m, beep beep, yeah
Beep beep’m, beep beep, yeah
Beep beep’m, beep beep, yeah
Beep beep’m, beep beep, yeah

Fantastic day out at the annual Greymouth Rodders Big Boys Toys Display at the weekend. Stunning weather, heaps of awesome cars, loads of spectators enjoying the day. A true petrol head haven and even for non petrol heads it was an impressive display. Looking forward to next year already!

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoying sharing their adventures and all the fun things there are to see and do on the West Coast.

Posted in NZ Accommodation, outdoors, photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments