Sunset Beach walk – Rapahoe Beach

Remember that 500 kms of coastline I mentioned in an earlier blog………

sunset sillouette rapahoe beach

This time we are at 7 mile beach or better known locally as Rapahoe beach, just 2 miles south of us. This is possibly the boys favourite beach, ok one of the boys favourite beaches – they are rather spoiled for choice. They enjoy the Rapahoe beach as it is usually really sandy so I guess that feeling under foot is the same as for us with sand between our toes – delicious!

sunset on rapahoe beach and a walk with the dogs

We headed here for a sunset walk – why – well just because  we can really. Friends described it as taking a walk on our front lawn and they are right when you live with beaches so close to you – 2 miles in either direction just has to be counted as all part of the front lawn – and not a bad front lawn it is either :-)

sunset rapahoe beach and meeting new friends

There were others with the same thought as us and making the most of the great conditions.

all smiles on the beach at Rapahoe

Smiles all round for both humans and dogs – how could you not smile on such a beautiful evening.

rapahoe colours on the beach in the sunset

Bit of cloud around making for some dramatic skies and once the sun actually went down the colours that came through were magnificent, lots of yellows, orange and purples.  Reminded us as to why we like to come down here on sunset – get the great colours reflecting in the sandy water too – double whammy!

sunset rapahoe beach in the night light

Conscious of the big black clouds looming we didn’t venture right to the end this time around but slowly made our way back along the beach.

rapahoe in the moonlight Was nice to see the lights of Rapahoe popping on around the little village – again all adding to the atmosphere of the night.

7 mile creek in the moonlight rapahoe beach

The boys and I made a bee-line for the car while Stephen stayed until dark to get some photos of the 7 mile creek in the moon light. Another lovely evening walk on the beach – sunset walk at Rapahoe beach.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  Together with their two faithful dogs Nico and Ziggy, they enjoy getting out and about and making the most of this beautiful region they are lucky enough to call home.

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Winter in Franz Josef

main street Franz Josef

Just back from a lovely couple of nights down in the South Westland village of Franz Josef, the township for the Franz Josef glacier.

mountain views roberts point walk

Lots of fresh snow on the mountains.  We had beautiful crisp clear winter days for exploring (more to come).

Nico and Ziggy in Franz Josef

Visiting Franz Josef means a visit with our friends Bernie and Gerard from Holly Homestead – the boys “D-God parents” and this means being rather spoilt.

dogs enjoying river walk at Franz Josef

The boys enjoyed catching up with their friend Benson and we enjoyed our time with Bernie and Gerard and Kaz from Westwood Lodge.

lake maporika sunsets

Blessed with wonderful sunsets we couldn’t resist a drive to Lake Mapourika for reflection photos as the sun went down behind the mountains.

Holly homestead with the starry skies

The evenings were just as beautiful as the days, giving us stunning starry skies above our accommodation at Holly Homestead. Another lovely visit to Franz Josef.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about and exploring this wonderful region – West Coast of the Southern Alps.

 

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A Winter Beach Walk – 8 Mile Beach

8 mile beach towards Rapahoe and rockpools

ooh hard to beat a walk on the beach with the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky

rocky boulders on 8 mile beach walk

yes this is winter on the West Coast and it is beautiful!

8 mile beach with views to 12 apostles

We’ve ventured just down the road to the 8 mile beach.  So lucky here on the West Coast – nearly 500kms of coastline so plenty of beaches to choose from.  For us we don’t need to venture too far from home to get to a completely different beach – well different looking anyway.

driftwood on the beach 8 mile beach walk

It’s been a while since we’ve visited the 8 mile beach and it is so completely different to the last time we were here.  There were so big storms creating big seas throughout June and you can really see with the scouring into the vegetation and cliff behind us.

Nico and Jan enjoying 8 mile beach walk

As always the boys are happy to be wandering the beach line and they always love heading out onto the rocks – be it here at the 8 mile or at home at 9 mile.

Ziggy searching for treasure 8 mile beach

Jan and Nico enjoying the views 8 mile beach walk

Ziggy does his usual “fishing” in the rock pools and Nico is happy just plodding along with Mum.

Jan and Nico 8 mile beach with green moss behind

With a final pose with the boss amongst the rocks and the velvet green moss it is time to head back home and have a lie in the sunshine – well for the four-legged amongst anyway…..

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  Named one of the 10 ten coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet it is a lovely drive with numerous beaches to explore.

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Wheels Go Round in Winter Wonderland – Larrys Creek, Reefton

Nothing like some fresh air to help you get a good nights sleep and on our latest winter adventure “fresh” air was something we had in abundance.

frozen track larrys creek reefton

Reefton was our port of call – and if someone asks me what would be my favourite thing about Reefton I’d have to say……

greens of larrys creek trail reefton

the scenery with its lush, green enchanted forests…….

larrys creek track in the green forest reefton

the great outdoors with so much to see and do……..

broadway tearooms and bakery sweet selection

but seriously possibly my favourite thing about Reefton would have to be Broadway Tearooms and Bakery – come on you knew that was coming – cakes, biscuits, muffins, slices, squares, homemade bread, filled rolls mmmmmm!

broadway tearooms and bakery selection

There is certainly something that draws us back to Reefton, time and time again and it may have something to do with the fact that our walks or rides all start with a visit to the Bakery – and they all end there too!  Pretty hard to beat a place that has a great bakery that draws you in pre adventure and again post adventure.

frosty boulders on larrys creek track reefton

Our latest adventure has to be a candidate for the coolest ride in Reefton – in more ways than one.

frozen vegetation on larrys creek track reefton

It is a very very very – did I mention very, chilly day but oh so gorgeous with not a cloud in the sky.  Plenty of frost on the ground though – and on much of the vegetation.  This is possibly one of the colder winter’s we’ve had here on the West Coast – hence one of the “coolest” little rides, but if it means clear sunny skies that’s ok, we’ll take it.

forestry road larrys creek track reefton

Larrys Creek track on the outskirts of Reefton is our calling.  After meeting our friends Nina and Raewyn at the bakery and stocking up with our lunch and perhaps a little pre-ride treat we headed out the road.  The trail starts approximately 16kms on the outskirts of Reefton heading north towards Nelson/Westport.

Jan and Nina enjoying beach forest larrys creek track

We park up at the start of the forestry road that leads up the valley.  It is a gorgeous morning with clear blue skies but there is quite a bit of morning fog still hanging in the air right where we park.  Thankfully we can see the blue skies trying to break though up the valley.

Larrys Creek track forestry road with Nina

The forestry road meanders up the valley for about 6kms, first through some beautiful beach forest and then through pine forest before finally meeting the start of the Larrys Creek walking track.

Larrys creek track Reefton Nina and Raewyn

We’re in and out of sunny spots but once in the trees the trail meanders along the edge of the river and the sun is unfortunately on the other side.  Still stunningly beautiful though.

frosty ground mountain biking larrys creek track reefton

frost in the forest larrys creek trail reefton

With our wheels crunching across the winter wonderland and rays of sunshine trying to find their way through the trees we continue on through the forest.

mountain biking larrys creek track reefton on a frosty winters day

larrys creek track reefton in the frost

It is only a short piece of single track – about 2.5kms before it converges at the side of the river and what is known locally as “trout pool”.  Needless to say a great spot for fishing in the season – and would make a great swimming hole in the summer, but no way today we’re venturing in there.

trout pool larrys creek track reefton

We have one more small section to bike to make the end of the trail – up to the historic Duffys Mine Shaft and after a very short but sharp little climb appearing out of nowhere is this most fantastic steam engine relic.

Jan, Nico and Ziggy at Calendonia mine larrys creek track reefton

Feels quite surreal to see this structure just sitting here amongst the forest.  After an obligatory photo with the boys time to head back out – too cold today to be hanging around for too long.

duffys mine shaft hill larrys creek track reefton

The ride back out on the single track is an absolute blast – once you know the track and that it is all quite rideable, you can have a bit more fun.  We were hoping to have had our lunch break at Trout Pool but as there was no sunshine there we needed another spot and soon found one right at the end of the single track.

lunch break larrys creek track reefton

Nina kindly got to work boiling the billie for a hot cuppa and we all chowed down on our bakery treats.  While it was nice sitting in the sunshine the air temperature was still pretty cold so time to hit the road again and get back to the car and to some warmth.  That and there was a custard square calling our name back at the bakery…….

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  Together with their two dogs Nico and Ziggy they enjoy getting out and exploring the West Coast and sharing their discoveries and adventures.

 

 

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Duffys Creek, Rahau Saddle

Up the creek without a paddle – Duffys Creek in the Rahau Saddle.  Ok, so I won’t give up my day job at this stage but it does rhyme!

Forest of green duffys creek walk rahau saddle

Duffys Creek was our latest little adventure and yes it can be found on the Rahau Saddle.  The Rahau Saddle is a beautiful piece of scenic reserve in the Victoria Forest between Reefton and the Lewis Pass.

With a compulsory stop at the Broadway Tearooms and Bakery in Reefton to get our lunch supplies we headed out the road to find the trail.  I say find the trail because it is one of those that we’ve seen as we’ve taken the drive many a time on our way to or from Hanmer Springs but not really taken that much notice of to know exactly where it is.

off for a walk duffys creek rahau saddle

Trail found and we’re off.  Well sort of – we do start the walk but we don’t get very far and Stephen is in photography heaven.  I think it takes us 1/2 an hour to go only about 200 metres.

enchanted forest walk duffys creek

To be fair though it is stunning in here – almost doesn’t look real.  More like we’ve walked onto a film set – something between The Hobbit and Avatar and we’re a little unsure of who or what we might meet around the corner.

muddy hole duffy creek walk rahau saddle

There has been much rain of late so the trail is pretty wet and slippery with some lovely boggy holes – foot placement is a very integral part of this excursion!  Doesn’t bother the boys though of course – typical “children” in that respect with the muddier the better.  Oh to have that child like attitude.  In saying that we do end up with it eventually as once your shoes are wet and muddy no point trying to avoid the inevitable.

waterfall Duffys Creek walk

The trail follows the creek bed up through the bush and you can hear it gushing even when you can’t see it.  Soon enough though we can see it as the trail skirts a ridge-line above with the creek flowing down over boulders and creating waterfall after waterfall.

Babbling brook Duffys Creek

duffys creek in the bush rahau saddle

This is where we lose a lot of time.  Stephen has come prepared with tripod and you’d now be hard pushed to wipe the smile off his face.  This is what photography is all about he says – he could camp here and just take photo after photo…… mmmm tad cold though don’t you think my love……..

deep in the forest duffys creek rahau saddle

Finally we are onwards and upwards again conscious that we’ve lost quite some time with our photography stops and we haven’t yet reached the top.  Unfortunately we can’t go much further – at least not this time with the boys.

climbing the mossy boulders duffys creek walk

After scrambling up ourselves we decide it is just too dangerous for the dogs as the track gets quite steep with lots of boulders, old tree roots and moss-covered fallen logs for them to fall through or lose their footing and hurt themselves.  To get oh so close – but safety must come first.

sea of green duffys creek rahau saddle

Back down the way we came and more time to soak up all that surrounds us. The bush is so dense and so green – we feel like we’re in the middle of a jungle or an enchanted forest.

boys enjoying duffys creek walk rahau saddle

Wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the creatures from the Once Upon a Trip story appear from behind a tree or rock – perhaps a unicorn or Rock Troll.  Or even Momo or Pabu from Avatar – although I guess Ziggy is our own little Pabu, fill of mischief and we do of course have our very own “Pongo”  with us aka Nico.

mossy trees duffy creek walk rahau saddle

If you go down in the woods today……..

Back on terra firma and we have a date back at Broadway Tearooms and Bakery for a hot drink and custard square.  Now that is what adventures are all about – the rewards at the end. :-)

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  Together with their faithful companions Nico and Ziggy the family dogs, they enjoy getting out and about and exploring the wonder that is the West Coast.

 

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Rarotonga – Visit to an Island Paradise

Rarotonga beach as sun goes down

Many of our guests at Breakers finish their NZ holiday with a few days at the Cook Islands.  I like to call this the holiday at the end of the holiday – time to slow down and relax before heading back home and back to the reality of everyday life.

beachfront accommodation

Well we thought it was time to check out this Island paradise and see what all the fuss was about so we headed to Rarotonga for a few nights R and D (it was!).

views up to mountains

The Cook Islands are made up of 15 islands in the heart of the Pacific Ocean with Rarotonga being the largest and the main island.  I say largest – it is still small at 32kms in circumference and surrounded by a crystal clear lagoon that meets the reef and beyond to the Pacific Ocean.  There is an inner ring road with off-shoots leading to dense green jungle and magnificent towering jagged mountains.

walk along the beach Rarotonga

We arrive during their winter – same as us in NZ but crossing the date line and going back one day.  Both our countries may be on winter hours but that is about where the similarities stop.  It is 4 o’clock in the afternoon when we arrive and a balmy 28 degrees.  Yep, definitely different to home where we left a frost and -3 degrees…….

along the beach rarotonga resort

There are numerous accommodation options available to suit all budgets from resorts to backpackers and plenty of rental accommdotion.  As we are quite independent we chose to rent a house.  Well it was a bungalow actually – beachfront, fully self-contained and just one other detached bungalow beside us so very private.  We chose the west side of the island, right on the beach and affording wonderful views and sunsets.  Sounding somewhat familiar!

enjoying the views Rarotongan beach

My guests when asking where we are going for our holiday would laugh when I said Rarotonga.  “You do realise you live on a beach” they’d say.  Well yes but I won’t have lawns to mow, windows to clean or any of those other things that are associated with living and owning a beachfront property – I have important R & D to do you know.

views to lagoon from bungaow

There were a few fundamental differences obviously, besides the air temperature, but the water temperature also – actually just the water full stop.  Being a lagoon it was pretty much safe to swim in the entire time, crystal clear and warm – did I mention oh so warm.  We swam (well for one of us it may have been more floated – same thing) each morning and again each evening – lovely way to start and finish the day.

relaxing at the Rarotonga bungalow

It’s more than that though – more than not having household chores to do as we still did our dishes, made our bed, swept our unit from the sand – I know aren’t we good :-)  No they call this island time and it really is. You immediately just feel more relaxed – even those household chores were relaxing.

roadside bus stop

With the island only being 32 kms in circumference it is pretty easy to get around with lovely restaurants/cafes dotted along the roadside and waterfront.  There is a public bus transport system but we choose to hire a scooter – probably the most common choice of transport for visitors and locals alike.

main street Rarotonga

The roads are perfect for the scooter, not much traffic and everything is so easy to find.  Makes parking a breeze too!  The seat lifts revealing a lockable compartment so great for doing a bit of shopping which lets face it is an integral part of any holiday – even if you just need new sunnies.

tours rarotonga to mountains

You can make your visit to Rarotonga as relaxing or busy as you like.  There are plenty of activities – snorkeling, diving, kite surfing, paddleboard – yep lots of water sport activities.  Also lagoon tours, cultural tours, 4WD tours – something for everyone.

locals of Rarotonga

original mission house Rarotonga

For us it was more about relaxing.  Hanging on the beach, people watching and just generally enjoying our surroundings.  We took lots of walks too – along the beaches and  around the villages.  There is so much colour in both the people we met and the buildings and architecture.

road side cafe

Rarotongan church

Church rarotonga

Of course any trip away for us wouldn’t be complete with getting on a bicycle so we hired a bike for a couple of afternoons and did some exploring.  It was a great way to see the island and the countryside.  We biked the entire circumference of the island on our first afternoon outing and for our next outing explored some of the inner ring road and the roads leading off it.

riding in rarotonga

It was a great way to get a better insight to island living and there is nothing quite like the path less traveled.  One thing we would definitely do next time is take our hiking boots as there are some great hiking trails but they take you deep into the jungle and up into the mountains so decent footwear is paramount.

Rarotonga sceen with mountains and plants

road side store Rarotonga

Considering the size of the island Rarotonga has some wonderful eateries.  We would usually have our main meal at lunch time to make the most of the sea views offered from many of the cafes/restaurants.  There are supermarkets and little roadside stores so you can easily get some supplies if you wish to be semi-self sufficient.  On the occasions we did eat out for dinner the meals were sublime!  Fantastic service, great ambience and fresh delicious food.

fun at the markets rarotonga

stall holder rarotonga market

A couple of must dos when visiting Rarotonga is the market on Saturday – filled with colour, music, festivities and of course treasures to buy.

leaving the church service Rarotonga

Church congregation Rarotonga

reverend Rarotonga church

The other – a church service on Sunday.  Visitors are welcomed with open arms and it is a wonderful cultural experience with singing that has to be heard to be believed.

Stary skies above Rarotongan bungalow

This is island living at island time on a little island paradise – it is all about relaxing and going with the flow.  For us we’d call it perfect and I for one can’t wait to go back again.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth – West Coast of the Southern Alps of New Zealand.

 

 

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Our Winter Paradise on Sunset

Beautiful days with stunning sunsets, that’s what our winters are all about here on the West Coast – well usually.  After a huge front hit late last week it was great to get our “normal” winter weather back.

nine mile creek glowing in the sunset

Talked Stephen into heading down to the beach for one more walk with the boys before dark.  Needless to say he came loaded with the camera gear – figured if has to follow “she who must be obeyed” might as well see if can get a photo or two.

Nine mile creek on sunset

Well get a photo or two he did.  While I continued on down the beach with the boys Stephen set up the tri-pod and headed up the creek to snap some shots…..

nine mile creek as the sun sets

Not too bad eh!

sunset views of Breakers

Back up the track to the house and all was looking pretty good from here too.

sunset views from Breakers

Home sweet home – hard to beat our winter paradise on sunset.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  Beachfront property overlooking the Tasman Sea – fabulous sea views and fabulous sunsets.

 

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