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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Arnold River Dam Walk – Fungi Fishing

arnold river dam walk boardwalk

Walks in the bush take on a whole new meaning come Autumn.

arnold river dam walk brown fungi

Instead of constantly looking up at the canopy our eyes are glued to the forest floor in search of fungi.

arnold river dam walk small white fungi

arnold river dam walk orange fungi

arnold river dam walk brown fungi in the moss

arnold river dam walk blue fungi

We are not disappointed finding almost all the colours of the rainbow in amongst the sea of green.

arnold river dam walk little blue fungi

arnold river dam walk white fungi

It’s not just the colour but the shapes too – from the “helmets” to the “gills” to the “umbrellas” – something in there for everyone.

So remember if you’re out and about on a bush walk look down, you never know what is hidden in amongst the ferns and moss and allow more time than you would normally – fungi fishing is addictive……

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about exploring the beauty that is the West Coast of the Southern Alps.

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Zigaldo Trys out for the National All Browns Soccer Team

Ziggy playing soccer

Ziggy has been extremely committed the last few beach walks at practicing his soccer skills

Ziggy and his slobber while playing soccer

He is highly determined and dedicated to the task at hand

ziggy with the sandy ball on the beach

There was a whisper some scouts may be coming our way and he was keen to showcase his many talents with the ball

Ziggy action shot catching ball on the beach

and he has many, many talents…….

Watch out Ronaldo – Zigaldo wants your position.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  Together with their two faithful friends Nico and Ziggy they enjoy sharing their little piece of paradise.

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Back on the Bike – West Coast Wilderness Trail

West Coast Wilderness Trail Kapitea Reservoir

On my bike again, I’m so happy to be on my bike again, feel the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, oh it’s so great to be on my bike again……..

morning mist on the beach

Seriously it really is good to be out on the bike.  With the season drawing to an end and the guests now just starting to trickle through we have some spare time.  Perfect timing too as April weather can be simply stunning and today was no exception.

ziggy playing with the stick nine mile beach

Glorious start with a compulsory meander on the beach with the boys.  Have to keep them satisfied as they unfortunately can’t come riding with us anymore.  At 8 years old and 11 years old respectively it is our job to look out for them – as much as they would love to come with us.

Ziggy enjoying a run on the Nine Mile beach

They are more than happy with their beach walk though – lots of sand on the beach for a change which must feel so nice on their paws after all the stones they are more used to.

With the bikes loaded we say goodbye to the boys – looking rather forlorn at being left behind I might add and we head off for our great adventure.  Well ok not great adventure – little outing but still after so long it feels like a great adventure.

riding along kumara tramline west coast wilderness trail

We’re biking some of the West Coast Wilderness Trail – out to Kumara and up to the Kapitea Reservoir and then back to Kumara for lunch before riding back to the car.

The West Coast Wilderness Trail runs from Greymouth to Ross – some 135 odd kms.  We’re just doing a small section but it is a lovely section of contrasts.

taramakau river from bridge clipon

After a short leg warm up following the main highway we met with the mighty Taramakau Road/Rail bridge – yep you’re reading this right, a bridge over the river for vehicles and trains….. thankfully there is now a clip-on for cyclists and walkers and it has been a great addition.  Not just for the safety of crossing but for the views too!

riding through rimu forest west coast wilderness trail

Onwards, peddling, peddling, giving my legs a good wee work out – they sure aren’t used to this.  The scenery helps take your mind of the pain though – yeah, ok I’m not that unfit, there isn’t really any pain, much……. We head along the old Kumara tram-line through gorgeous regenerating native forest sprinkled with lots of my favourite native the Rimu tree.

kumara chasm gorge west coast wilderness trail

Round and round the pedals turn – heading in this direction is ever so slightly – just so so so slightly…… uphill.  Ok uphill is a bit of an exaggeration – a very very gentle incline.  We pass over the Kumara Chasm and swingbridge and catch a glimpse of the Taramakau River down below.

The ride of contrasts continues as we pass through the little village of Kumara, some gorgeous rolling farmland and find ourselves at the head of the Kapitea Reservoir, surrounded by regenerating native forest and mountains.

enjoying views over kapitea reservoir west coast wilderness trail

What a view.  We take some time to contemplate…. before it is time to turn around and head back home.  A great couple of hours out on the bike, in amongst some stunning West Coast scenery.  On my bike again, I’m so happy to be on my bike again……

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 help make up this beautiful part of New Zealand.

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West Coast Sunrise

Sometimes I have to pinch myself at the beauty of my surroundings……

sunrise from Breakers Boutique Accommodation

Seriously not only do we get some amazing sunsets – quite dazzling (thanks Curt!) but we can be blessed with amazing sunrises also.

sunrise over annex building breakers boutique accommodation

With the Tasman Sea out front and Paparora mountain range behind us the light can filter in the most beautiful ways and the colours go on for hours (ok minutes but seems like hours…….)

sunrise over Breakers Boutique Accommodation

Often I am the only one to see the changing skies of the sunrise – first up getting ready for guest breakfasts.  As one of my friends said to me, helps ease the pain of the constant early mornings when you get to experience nature like this.

firey sunrise over the Paparoa mountains

Gush gush gush…… :-)

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy showcasing this region, they are lucky enough to call home, to the world.

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Autumn Sunsets on the West Coast

sunset from Breakers boutique accommodation

Love Autumn for all sorts of reasons but one of the main reasons is the magnificent sunsets.

skies on fire above Breakers Boutique accommodation Great Coast Road

skies on fire from Breakers Great Coast Road

Every night is different – depending on the cloud build up. The colours change as the night goes on, like watching our own light show.

sunset over Greymouth

A recent night out in Greymouth gave us the opportunity for a sunset over the Grey River and township.

Sunset over the Grey River Greymouth

firey sunset skies over the Grey River Greymouth

Quite the spectacle.  Thank you autumn sunsets.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about and showcasing this region they are lucky enough to call home.



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Thinkwater West Coast Firefighter Combat Challenge

tough work west coast fire brigade challenge

Thinkwater West Coast Firefighter Combat Challenge was held last weekend. Dubbed the “toughest 2 mins in sport” it was everything its name claimed it might be.

The challenge kicked off at 12pm at the Paparoa Range School in Dobson, just outside of Greymouth.

watching west coast fire brigade challenge

It was a great turnout – not just firefighters from the West Coast but from Canterbury too – Lincoln, Southbridge and Christchurch Airport coming across the mountains to test their combat skills and fitness.

exhausted west coast fire brigade challenge

The Challenge is designed to encourage firefighter fitness and boy are they fit. These guys are tough – really tough and it is awesome to get a chance to see just what they have to be able to endure and put their bodies through.

The fire fighters are fully kited out in bunker gear and then have to simulate the physical demands of real-life firefighting – yikes.

suiting up west coast fire brigade challenge

There is an individual competition that is definitely the toughest as that also includes wearing and using the Scott 5.5 Air-Pak breathing apparatus.

The tandem and relay events are definitely tough too having to wear the bunker gear but not the breathing apparatus.

The competitors then race head-to-head as they simulate the physical demands of real-life firefighting by performing a linked series of five tasks including:

running up the tower west coast fire brigade challenge

Climbing a 5 story tower carrying a length of 70mm 19kg flaked hose

hauling up the weight bag fire brigade challenge

Hoisting a 70mm hose coil 5 storys

hammering it out west coast fire brigade challenge

Chopping using a 4kg shot hammer to drive a beam 1.5 metres

running the hose fire brigade challenge

touch down west coast fire brigade challenge

Extending a charged length of 45mm hose to knock down a disc

dead weight dummy haul west coast fire brigade challenge

and then if that wasn’t enough dragging a life-sized dummy (weighing a hefty 175lb!) a distance of 30.5m

on the run fire brigade challenge

dead weight fire brigade challenge

All the while racing against themselves, their opponent and the clock.  Yep not for the faint-hearted.

commradarie fire brigade challenge

lift off fire brigade challenge

The camaraderie amongst the competitors was awesome to see – egging each other one, offering words of encouragement.

It is fabulous that they open this up for the public to experience and see just what is involved in becoming a firefighter.  These guys put their lives on the line and for the most part are volunteers.  It is hard work – it is a big committment but there were smiles all round and we feel so priviliged to have such amazing people looking out for us.  Thanks to all the fire fighters – world wide but for us, especially in NZ and especially on the West Coast and while we appreciate all that they do and enjoy watching their skills competitions, I hope I never have to meet them in a real life situation.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about and supporting local events.

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