A Walk up the 10 Mile Valley

water flow under bridge 10 mile valley walkA walk up the 10 mile valley is not be confused with a 10 mile walk…….

ok, so seriously who would confuse the two – not me lol

water flowing over the rocks 10 mile valley walk

After a bit of a stormy night (heavy rain, gale force winds, thunder and lightning – did I miss anything there!), we awoke to a bit of blue sky and sunshine and that is all the encouragement we needed to take a meander up the 10 mile Valley.

waterfall in flow 10 mile valley walk

The 10 mile valley turns into a photographer’s paradise after some rain and would have to be our go to walk.

waterfall amongst the bush 10 mile valley walk

The hillside comes alive with the trees and leaves glistening, the gurgle of the creek and the waterfalls cascading down the moss-covered rock face.

waterfall into creek 10 mile valley walk

The creek was surprisingly clear but in good flow bouncing off the rock bed.

waterfall 10 mile valley walk

So beautiful up here after rain – so peaceful – just the sound of the birdsong and the gushing water.  It may not be a 10 mile walk but it is a beautiful walk up the 10 mile valley.

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 – West Coast of the Southern Alps.

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A Meander up the Moonlight Valley

May is NZ music month – apparently.  Seems quite fitting then that during our little exploration of the Moonlight Valley I was humming the tune “Slice of Heaven” by Dave Dobbyn

moonlight creek flowing over the rocks

“her love shines over my horizon, she’s a slice of heaven”

Moonlight River Grey Valley

Meandering up the Moonlight Valley you could be forgiven for thinking that you’d died and gone to heaven.  It was gob-smackingly beautiful up here.

fungi in the ferns moonlight track

Stephen had biked up the access road to the Moonlight track the weekend before and was “dying” (sorry!) to come back for an explore with the camera.

For the most part we were stopping at various points as we drove up the 9km access road to the Moonlight Pack Track.

native bush in the skyline moonlight track

If anything it was almost too nice of a day – for photography.  Bright sunshine doesn’t bode well but with the dense bush it didn’t matter too much and there were some wonderful light rays filtering through the trees.

NZ native bush Moonlight Track

Once at the car park for the pack track we didn’t need to venture too far down the trail. The moss-covered trees and rocks were captivating right there within the first 100 metres of the trail.

forest reflections moonlight track

Besides this incredible beauty the area is also steeped in history. The Moonlight gold field was one of the richest alluvial strikes on the West Coast and was famous for producing large nuggets. Stone heaps and evidence of water channels are obvious alongside the Moonlight walking track only a few minutes from the car park. This area is well worth exploring.  I can’t wait to come back and spend a couple of hours walking the trail and immersing ourselves in more of the history.

In the meantime………

Moonlight River and Valley Greymouth

“warm moonlight over my horizon, she’s a slice heaven”

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 this beautiful region they’re lucky enough to call home – West Coast of the Southern Alps.

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Hapuka Estuary Walk, Haast

reeds Hapuka Estuary Walk, Haast

Hapuka Estuary Walk is a gorgeous little walk approximately 15kms from Haast along the Jacksons Bay Road (opposite the Haast Beach Holiday Park).

native bush hapuka estuary walk

Described as an inter-tidal zone, the trail meanders out along boardwalks through the estuary waters with panels explaining the ecology of the estuary and life and story of whitebait.

sunset hapuka estuary walk

There is a perfectly situated viewing platform to look out upon the estuary and the reed grasses blowing in the wind or on a still day affording great reflections of those reeds and surrounding native bush.  Perfectly situated too for some stunning sunsets.

boardwalk hapuka estuary walk

The boardwalk continues its meander through the saltmarsh before it loops round through the native forest back to the car park.  There is a short side lookout giving views out to the Tasman Sea and Open Bay Islands.

A lovely easy short walk suitable for all ages, giving a good insight into the intricacies of a typical inter-tidal (:-) ) wetland.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about and exploring all the little gems that make up this gorgeous region of NZ – West Coast, naturally.

 

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In Search of the Magic of the Mushrooms – Coal Creek Falls Walk

coal creek falls walk in the forest

coal creek falls walk amongst the greenery

The Coal Creek Falls walk is signposted as 1 hour return. We normally do it in 40 minutes.

coal creek falls waterfall runanga

Our latest effort however took us 2.25 hours……

vietnamese hats - fungi coal creek falls walk

It was a treasure hunt, searching for the magic of mushrooms.

oyster fungi coal creek falls walk

Autumn is the perfect time to discover the magic of mushroom hunting.

yellow fungi amonst a sea of green coal creek falls walkThe forest floors come alive with these tiny little treasures.

red amongst the green forest floor coal creek falls walk

cup fungi in the forest floor coal creek falls walk

There are colours, sizes and shapes galore.  Typically I forgot to take my “Mushroom and Other NZ Fungi” book with me – one day I’ll learn!

chocolate fudge looking fungi coal creek falls walk

We’ve spent the last three Autumn seasons on the search for fungi and just when we think we’ve found all there is to find, we undercover a new treasure – new to us anyway.

white butter jelly fungi coal creek falls walk

This latest hunt was a great success even finding “White Butter Jelly” – how decadent does that sound!  And decadent it is – a delicacy in Japan and China, used in cuisine and medicinal purposes.

spider orchid coal creek falls walk

While Stephen takes the photographs, I continue to studiously search the forest floor and I also discovered what we think is a NZ Spider Orchid. This thing is tiny but it really does look like an orchid – oh so pretty.

fungi in the bush coal creek falls walk

It takes a lot of patience and concentration to find all these little gems.  Sometimes you can find yourself looking right at them and other times you almost need a microscope to see them they can be so tiny.  Every one precious in its own right though.

flower fungi in the bush coal creek falls walk

Next time you take a walk in the forest during Autumn, slow down, look down and you’ll discover a whole new world.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  Great nature lovers, they enjoy getting out and about and exploring all things West Coast.

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Lake Ellery Track, Haast

forest reflections lake ellery track haast

Lake Ellery Track is signposted just inland off the Jacksons Bay Road, turning off after crossing the bridge across the Arawhata River and following an unsealed road for around 3kms.

lake ellery track through the beech forest

It is an easy walk through native beech forest following the edge of the Ellery stream.  The stream water seems very slow-moving which helps reflect the bush into the water beneath.  Whenever you pass a shallow rocky section the true flow of the stream is revealed and the stony bottom shimmers seductively in the sunlight.

river reflections haast

It is very peaceful and there is an abundance of bird life all competing for their song to be heard.

lake ellery headland haast

After around 30minutes the track ends on the edge of Lake Ellery, a large glacier formed lake surrounded by towering mountains and dense native bush.

admiring the views lake ellery track haast

There is only one other couple on the trail and it is actually nice to have some company and share the beauty and peace of the area.

Lake Ellery track is a short easy walk giving some great variation of stream, native bush, bird life and lake – a smorgasbord of scenery – what more could you ask for…….

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 tracks and trails dotted up and down the West Coast.

 

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The End of the Road – Jacksons Bay, Haast

Collyer House, Okuru, Haast

We’ve recently had a few days in the deep south of South Westland – Haast staying at the beautiful Collyer House.  A gorgeous bed and breakfast located in idyllic bush surroundings with a backdrop of native bush, lush farmland and views to Okuru Estuary and out to the Tasman Sea – picture perfect and a great place to base ourselves to explore this beautiful region of the West Coast.

native bush road to jacksons bay haast

native bush and mountains road to jacksons bay

A trip to Haast wouldn’t be complete without taking the drive to Jacksons Bay – literally the end of the road.  Just under 50kms from Haast following the edge of ancient rain forest, including tall Kahikatea trees and magnificent Rimu.  It is a sight to behold.

whitebait stands reflecting Okuru River Haast

We cross numerous rivers all lined with white bait stands, sitting dormant currently and waiting patiently for the return of the season when there will be a hive of activity – how different the rivers will look come Spring!

river reflections haast

Autumn is the perfect time to visit this region with generally settled weather – for us we had blue sunny skies and hardly a breath of wind making for some spectacular reflections in the river beds.

torquise waters arawata river jacksons bay road haast

A compulsory stop is required after crossing the one-lane bridge across the Arawata River.  The turquoise blue water glistening in the sunshine is calling our name and it is so lovely down by the river bed.

views jacksons bay wharf and historic grave

Onwards again, following more native bush and we round the bend to follow the final 5kms along the coastline to our destination.  One side hugs the towering mountains with the other side having the lapping of the sea.  It is a sight to behold as the road winds its way along to lead us into Jacksons Bay.

fishing boat coming in to dock jacksons bay haast

Our arrival is timed to perfection with a fishing trawler coming in to dock.  I’m not sure what they were actually coming in for – perhaps just to refuel as nothing was unloaded but we still enjoyed the spectacle.

enjoying lunch from the Craypot Jacksons Bay Haast

While a trip to Haast wouldn’t be complete without taking the drive to Jacksons Bay, a visit to Jacksons Bay wouldn’t be complete without a stop at The Craypot.  A colourful quirky caravan style cafe right on the waterfront.  Super friendly staff and delicious fresh food – predominately all thing seafood.  Was so good we did the road trip again the next day for another feed of fish n chips!  If you’re visiting NZ and see Blue Cod or Orange Roughy on the menu – go for it, you won’t be disappointed…… my mouth is watering again just at the thought of it.

blue clear waters jacksons bay haast

Jacksons Bay is a committed detour from the main touring highway but is a seriously worthwhile detour if you have the time.  With its turquoise clear blue waters to welcome your arrival you’ll feel like you’ve entered another world not just another part of this gorgeous country Stephen and I are lucky enough to call home.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about and exploring the West Coast – and at 5oo odd kms long there is plenty of exploring to do.

 

 

 

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Pioneer Cemetery, Jacksons Bay Road, Haast

Pioneer cemetery Jackson Bay Road Haast

On the drive to Jacksons Bay near Haast we came a cross a sign for historic cemetery – we need no further encouragement to stop and explore.

grave pioneer cemetary jacksons bay haast

mossy grave jackson bay road haast

Pioneer Cemetery is almost lost in the bush and easy to bypass.  It is the final resting place for some of the first European settlers to come to Jackson Bay as part of a settlement programme in 1875.  It is quite overgrown but thankfully some of the faithful locals do their best to ensure mother nature doesn’t take it over completely.

Neroli from Collyer House who we were staying with shared this poem written by her grandfather after a visit she remembers from when she was just a very small girl.  One of the only recollections she actually has of her grandfather.

forgotten grave pioneer cemetery jackson bay haast

The Graveyard in the Bush by Dinny Nolan

The place is a wayback countryside, just after the golden rush,
the scene is a little graveyard, a clearing in the bush.
The settlers they attended there on sad and mournful days,
I attended on those solemn days, then a little child I’d be,
it was sad to view bereaved ones, but the sympathy was kind,
and it left a great impression on my little childish mind.
Each time a soul departed the settlers felt they must,
assemble there, one and all, that graveyard in the bush.

The widower he’s standing there, his little babe’s at home,
It shall never know mother’s care, for the mother she has gone.
With grief he’s quite distracted, I heard him cry and rave,
I saw stout men lays hands on him, and drag him from the grave.
Another time a mother, she lost a loving son,
the rest had gone and left her, he was then the only one.
I don’t like to tell the story, it might make you sad and fret,
but the passing at that graveside I shall never more forget.

Many more were buried there in those pioneering days,
I recall the lovely flowers that flourished near the graves.
All enclosed with wooden railings as neat as it could be,
seemed like a little paradise in its plain simplicity.
I returned there long years after, I was then an aged man,
the place was quite deserted, all settlement was gone.
There in my seclusion old memories on me rushed,
and my first impulse it was to seek that graveyard in the bush.

I feel I should tell you what I gazed upon,
the tangled scrub it towered above, and the clearing all was gone.
And those crude wooden crosses which as a child I’d seen,
were buried ‘neath the tangled mass, and oblivion reigned supreme.
I tried to force an entrance to locate the place,
but blackberry it barred the way, and tore my hands and face.
I sat there sad and lonely, and I could not help reflect,
Is this remembrance after life, is this what we might expect.
When our span of life and ended, our voice forever hushed,
will be lapse into oblivion in some graveyard in the bush?
The past in vision came to me, my childhood days returned,
my soul cried out resentment, while my heart with pity mourned.
I ceased my wanderings round the place for in fancy I could see,
those sorrowing relations who once appealed to me.
I could see them in their motor cars, all dressed in raiment gay,
and their laughter falling softly in such a pleasant way.
They seemed to want for nothing, seemed to have the best,
heedless of their poor relation in this wilderness to rest.

We mourn our dear departed ones, and our sorrow it is real,
that they cannot live without them, the bereaved ones truly feel.
But old King Time comes to the rescue, and our grief will pass away,
When out of night that seemed so hopeless, will dawn again the day.
There’s One on High who loves us, if Christian faith we keep,
and He cares for us tenderly, no matter where we sleep.
When we rise up eternal, when sin and strife on earth are hushed,
None will be forgotten in the graveyard in the bush.

Thanks Neroli for allowing me to reproduce and share your grandfather’s poem.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about exploring the West Coast and sharing their discoveries.

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