Naseby 12 hour Mountain Bike Event

April 11 sees the dawn of the annual Naseby 12 hour day/nighter mountain bike race. Thankfully dawn is what we see as it is a lovely autumn morning with the sun coming up over the mountains.

mountain bike team waiting for race start

After missing a couple of years Stephen has entered a team in this year’s event – Sultans of Skid and the team riders are Stephen, Colin, Ewen and Heather with support crew of Jan and Jean (Colin’s wife).

enjoying sunshine Naseby day/nighter

With some table trash talked over a healthy breakfast and the bike gear ready we head to meet Colin and Jean at base camp. Colin and Jean came a couple of days earlier with their caravan and managed to secure a premium spot to set up the base camp for the duration of the race. Tent is all set up, deck chairs are awaiting, bikes are lined up ready to go – just need their rider at the ready.

camp sites naseby day/nighter mountain bike race

Waiting for all the competitors to arrive and the count down to the start there is a great vibe amongst the camp sites as everyone is getting themselves set-up, finalising any last-minute bike repairs, food options for the race, clothing etc. There is a lot of banter between teams and an edgy eagerness for the race to begin.

Waiting for race to start naseby day/nighter

briefing in the morning sun naseby day/nighter

Then it is race briefing time and on to the start line to get this show on the road. The first rider has to do a short run through the camp site to collect their bikes before the riding begins. The rest of the team and any support crew are usually up with the bikes. The start gun goes and we’re jockeying for position to see our rider come to the top of the hill to find his bike. This year it is Ewen’s turn – mainly because everyone else managed to come up with appropriate excuses as to why they couldn’t possiby do it!

Ewen at start line naseby day nighter mountain bike race

Yep you could describe the run and the riders trying to find their bikes as mayhem but it is all in good fun and helps break the riders up ready for the single track and the racing to begin proper.

Ewen starting the race naseby mountain bike race

Ewen arrives amongst the sea of runners – over here, over here we yell, get him onto his bike and he is off. I think lingering stress levels should fly off now and adrenalin will take over. Have fun we yell.

base camp naseby day/nighter mountain bike race

Backdown to the base camp and tension and apprehension is still high amongst some of the other team members. This will disappear once they get their first lap in but it just builds as they await their turn. Soon enough the front riders start coming through the stat/finish and we’re on the look out for Ewen. Here he is, change over time and Colin is off.

Jean our time-keeper Naseby day/nighter

It is amazing how quickly the lap times go. Jean is doing a great job in the caravan, set up as the chief time-keeper. She gets it spot on when Colin comes round from his lap, they are synchronised with their timing. We develop a system where we can see our rider come in off the actual trail for the lap around the camp site so have time to go back to base camp and let the next rider know they have about 3 minutes and it is change over time. Team work – it is a wonderful thing.

team talk naseby day/nighter

Colin is all smiles after his lap – he loved it. Stephen’s turn and he is off. By now Heather’s tummy is doing cartwheels in anticipation of her lap. 2 hours into the race though and soon enough it is her turn. Stephen comes around the last corner towards the changeover straight. The sun is starting to warm up now so he has sweat dripping down his forehead. Not quite the same smiley face as Colin – he didn’t enjoy his lap so much. Arriving late last night he didn’t get the opportunity to pre-ride and is feeling a bit under the weather. That’s ok though, we’re all here to have fun so just relax and enjoy the day for what it is I say……. I get laughed at…..all right for you they say, you’re not racing! The thought is there though eh!

Heather on camp track Naseby day/nighter mountain bike race

Another smooth changeover and Heather is away finally for her lap. The boys enjoy comparing notes on the trail, the drop-offs, the tree roots to look for etc and start the refuelling process for the long day ahead. We’ve all come well prepared with food for champions – lollie cake, banana chocolate cake, bacon and egg pie, vegetable quiche, coke, electrolyte drinks, the list goes on. Stephen jokes that it must be the only time you exercise your heart out and put weight on.

change-over Naseby day/nighter mountain bike race

Colin around camp site Naseby day/nighter

Lap after lap is completed and the whole team are full of smiles now, everyone enjoying their time out in the saddle and the sunshine.

naseby day/nighter mountain bike race camp site

Stephen takes advantage of the gaps between his laps to take a wonder amongst the camp site. With 160 teams and 60 solo riders it is like a little city here – ok, so slight exaggeration but it is a full camp site that is for sure. Everyone is in good spirits, yelling support as other riders go past and words of encouragement to the solo riders – yep solo riders, out there riding for 12 solid hours – legends.

Naseby day/nighter mountain bike race

Red Cross team Naseby mountain bike race

The event is organised and run by the Otago Mountainbike Club and it is all volunteers here helping out with the marshaling, official time keeping, rubbish, questions, DJ-ing and Emceeing (don’t know that either of those are words but they are now!). They are doing a stirling job. Most stirling job of all though would have to be the first aid crew. This year it is Red Cross and there are heaps of them set out strategically out on the trail as well as their base camp at the main camp site. They are kept busy with lots of minor injuries but thankfully nothing major requiring evacuation to the hospital.

team changeover Naseby mountain bike race

Stephen comments it would have to be one of the most relaxed events with a really nice vibe amongst everyone around – both competitors and the volunteers and also given the varying skill level amongst the competitors – sometimes it can get a little “bossy” and tense out on the course but not this time round.

Ewen on race track naseby day/nighter mountain bike race

The sun stays out for the duration of the daylight section but soon enough it is the night-time section of the ride. We move inside Colin and Jean’s caravan for this bit – nice and warm and a total bonus but it does remove you a bit from the race scene. We make mention of this, look at each other and don’t care – warmth and comfort verses social inclusion…. mmmm sorry guys warmth and comfort wins the order of the evening.

food tents naseby day/nighter mountain bike race

food tent naseby day/nighter

The final countdown beings – Stephen takes the last lap with the team not quite being able to fit one final lap in to count and the racing is over for Sultans of Skid for 2015 by 9.30pm – think they call that beer time.  We were supposed to meet Stephen on the finish line with beer in hand but again the warmth of the caravan put paid to that.  We did have it waiting for him when he came in through the door though – that counts surely.  All in all a great fun day in the sunshine, with good friends, good riding, good banter and another great event.

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 things to see and do on the West Coast and road tripping whenever they can.

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Canoe Creek Walk, Lake Kaniere

sea of green on boardwalk canoe creek walk lake kaniere

Talk about a short walk that really packs a punch.  Canoe Creek bush walk is a beauty.

canoe creek walk lake kaniere (2)

A beauty in many senses of the word – beautiful lush bush, beautiful trail, and a beauty as in a great walk.

canoe creek bush walk lake kaniere (2)

It starts on the shores of Lake Kaniere just before Hans Bay and meanders deep into the forest.  You know you’ve gone deep as the temperature really drops and then as you come closer out towards the lake the temperature goes back up again.  Was funny to feel such a noticeable difference in such a short space of time.

Trees of green Canoe Creek walk lake Kaniere

It is a fabulous example of NZ native bush and greens, greens, greens – all things green.

fern tree canoe creek walk lake kaniere (2)

Love the different shades of the foliage from each tree, the mosses and the ferns.

canoe creek walk bridge over ravine lake kaniere (2)

It’s also a wonderful example of what I’d call an “old school” DOC track – plenty of board-walks to protect the swampy undergrowth and a fantastic older style bridge across a ravine – the underneath of which was made more like a viaduct – very cool (this photo doesn’t really do it justice).

Fishing by canoe lake kaniere

Soon enough we’re out of the bush on the shores of Lake Kaniere.  Being Easter weekend there are plenty of people out in their boats and making the most of the long weekend out on the water.  We spot one family doing a spot of fishing in their canoe.  Mum and daughter in one canoe with Dad and son doing the fishing from another – what a wonderful experience for the whole family.

canoe creek lake kaniere (2)

Being that it is called Canoe Creek walk of course there has to be a creek and this is stunning.  Gorgeous tea coloured water filled with tannins from the leaves etc from the forest floor and affording some wonderful reflections.

Thanks Canoe Creek – a beauty of a walk, short and sweet and really packing a punch.

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

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Playtime for the boys Nine Mile Beach

I’m never really sure what the boys enjoy most – playtime on the beach or dinner time

beach time nine mile beach

Ziggy gives a big Wahoo! Beach time is definitely a favourite for him.

beach time Nico on nine mile beach

Nico is pretty happy too – I’m sure he is smiling in this shot.

beach time boys enjoying the nine mile beach

Managed to get the boys to do some posing for me in between all the sniffing and running.  Always so many new smells and things to discover so I have to thank them for taking time out from their busy beach schedule to pose for my photo.

beach time ziggy enjoying the nine mile beach

Ok, back to work now Mum – things to do, places to see, people to meet……..

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  With their own track for beach access it is a great place to relax while exploring the wonders of the West Coast.  Check out their website for more information.


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Autumn Evening Beach Walks

March is a wonderful month to visit New Zealand and the West Coast.

Nine Mile beach Greymouth

Often we can be getting some of our most consistent nice weather – cool mornings but soon warming once the sun comes out and staying warm right until the sun goes down at the end of the day.

evening beach walk nine mile beach greymouth

Perfect for early evening walks along the beach.

Waves Nine Mile beach Greymouth

The different tides make it a different walk each evening moving the sand, stones and driftwood and of course exactly where we can walk – or run as the case may be with the incoming tides.

Nine Mile beach evening tide

All in good fun although Mr Photographer gets mighty close sometimes with Mother Nature trying her hardest to get him wet.  Warm evenings though doesn’t really matter as the water is reasonably warm still too.

Ziggy and Nico enjoying an evening beach run

The dogs love their evening beach walks, especially Nico as it is a little cooler than the midday sun and with his thick coat makes it more bearable for him and we even get him running on occasions.

walk on Nine Mile beach Greymouth

Love this shot though – looks like someone shrunk him lol  Should read those washing instructions more carefully in future…….

sunset off Rapahoe beach

Gorgeous days lead to gorgeous evenings which leads to well gorgeous sunsets of course!

Sunset reflections Nine Mile beach

Been some rippers lately.  All in all I’d say March is a great time to visit the West Coast, but then again anytime is a good time :-)

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  Together with their faithful friends the family dogs, Nico and Ziggy, they enjoy getting out and exploring the many wonders that are the West Coast of the Southern Alps.

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Bush to Beach – Mananui Bush Walk

One of the things I love about the West Coast (and it seems to be an ever-growing list) is that one minute you’re walking through beautiful native forest and the next along a gorgeous beach – with not a single soul in sight.

Mananui bush walk Hokitika

Our latest walk was the beautiful Mananui Bush a short walk just south of Hokitika.

Native bush Mananui bush walk

Gorgeous dense rain forest with towering native trees covered in mosses, ferns and keikei adding great depth to the atmosphere of the forest.  The bird song was wonderful, especially from the numerous fantail fluttering in and out of the branches above us.

Mananui beach walk

It is just a short bush walk and then it opens on to a great expanse of beach.  And I do mean great expanse – you could walk back to Hokitika or all the way to Ross and beyond.  Sand and surf as far as the eye can see and on this occasion not a single other soul insight.

Mananui bush and beach walk hokitika

The boys love this – the sand between their paws must feel so nice in comparison to our stoney beach at home.  It is a nice meander and nice to be out in the sunshine and enjoy a little picnic lunch on the beach.  All to soon though it is time to head for home to meet our new guests.

Ziggy enjoying beach walk Hokitika

Thanks Mananui Bush/Beach for the lovely walk.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about together with their faithful friends the family dogs Nico and Ziggy and exploring the many wonders of the West Coast.

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8 Mile Valley – History Hidden in the Hills


old coal mine 8 mile valley

The West Coast has an abundance of coal and gold mining history and many of the walks are old coal or gold mining areas.

8 mile Valley just up from home is one such place.  A place of discovery, mystic and heaps of hidden history.

looking through the coal bin relic 8 mile valley

old coal sluice 8 mile valley

It is a great showcase of nature reclaiming her land with many of the relics being engulfed by the ever-growing native bush.

A walk up 8 Mile valley

It’s an easy walk up the valley following an old 4WD track, slowly getting overgrown also but the dogs enjoy the open spaces for a good leg stretch and there are plenty of smells to keep them guessing.

views to Tasman Sea from 8 mile quarry

Native bush 8 mile valley

Some fabulous views from the quarry that is up the valley now.  Guess it will always be some sort of industrial area but great that we can wander up here too and get amongst our history and the beautiful nature.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about exploring this beautiful region they get to call home West Coast of the Southern Alps.

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Grey District – Heart of the West Coast


Great Coast road from Mt George

We describe the Grey District as the Heart of the West Coast.  Gateway from Christchurch, gateway to the Great Coast Road, starting place for the West Coast Wilderness Trail and great diversity when it comes to scenery with world-class beaches, beautiful native bush walks and fabulous vistas and that’s not to mention plenty of untold history.

Marty & Connie on bush walk

Our friends Connie and Marty have been visiting from Germany and Stephen took some time out to showcase the best of the district.

views to Tasman Sea from Mt George

Starting with one of our favourite hikes the climb up Mt George.

Mt George views Great Coast Road

Affording views to die for up and down the coastline.

Connie and Marty enjoying Motukeikei beach walk

One of those views was the Motukeikei rocks so it seems only fitting that day two is an exploration of the Motukeikei beach.

Motukeikei beach walk with Connie, Marty & Ziggy

Gorgeous low tides and Ziggy gets to go exploring too.

Waiuta historic gold town

Left to their own devises to explore Coal Creek Falls and Point Elizabeth Stephen then takes them on a trip to Waiuta – historic gold town high in the Victoria Forest inland from Greymouth.

historic house waiuta gold town

This places oozes history and oozes charm.

Connie enjoying Waiuta historic gold town

You can wander round the old township and check out the remaining buildings and relics to give you a reminder of days gone by.

Power station Waiuta bush walk

or take a bush walk – the “road” travelled everyday by these hearty souls and discover the relics left behind in the bush.

cows in the paddock with sunlight

The road getting there is pretty stunning too – not a bad place for a dairy farm……

Nine Mile beach and rocks Greymouth

Back at Breakers and we have the beach right here to meander along and Connie spent a lot of time exploring the beach in search of greenstone and just enjoying her surroundings.

sunet from Rapahoe beach

and to top it all off the West Coast turned on the sunsets each night during their stay too including this one when we popped down to the local pub for dinner.

I’d say all in all Connie and Marty had a great visit to the Grey District – Heart of the West Coast.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about and showcasing the region with their friends, family and guests to Breakers.  West Coast of the Southern Alps – named by Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2014 as one of the top 10 regions to visit in the world…. wonder why.


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