Waiting for Whitebait – Jacobs River, South Westland

Jacobs River and views to Southern Alps

We load up the whitebait gear and travel to site

Almost time to wait for whitebait

whitebait stand waiting to go down on banks of jacobs river

whitebaiter and stand on banks jacobs river south westland

The stands are lowered and secured in place

Almost time to wait for whitebait

enjoying the views and the river while waiting for whitebait

The stand is ready and nets are set

we sit and wait for whitebait

John watching the river for whitebait

We pace the stand, we enjoy the views

we sit and wait for whitebait

sitting on banks of Jacobs River waiting for whitebait

Cuppa tea time so boil the billy

we sit and wait for whitebait

pulling up the whitebait net

A possible sighting, we lift the stands

we look we check for whitebait

sitting and watching and waiting for whitebait on the banks of the river

Lower the stands again, check the water, enjoy the views

we sit we wait for whitebait

boating down jacobs river with mt cook and southern alps in the backgroundchatting with boating friend on jacobs river waiting for the whitebait

A friend visits we chew the fat and tell some stories

we look we wait for whitebait

whitebait stands with mountain backdrops jacobs river

The tide turns, we pack up for the day

tomorrow we’ll sit

sitting and enjoying the views from the beach at the mouth of Jacobs River

tomorrow we’ll wait for whitebait

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They love to get out and explore the region and spend time immersing themselves in the West Coasts Natural Untamed Wilderness.

Advertisements
Posted in Nature, NZ history, outdoors, photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Striking Gold in Ross

Ross is a historic gold town just south of Hokitika on the Glacier Highway.

Gold was first found in the area in the 1860s and thus the town of Ross was established. With a population of around 300 people it is hard to believe it was once more like 4000 in the height of the gold rush days.

Totara Bridge Station Ross

Recently we had a couple of nights staying in Ross – at the Totara Bridge Station holiday park nestled at the end of Ross Beach Road.  What a location!  Literally right on the beach you’ll discover this almost hidden oasis.  With accommodation options suiting every budget – we were in our caravan, so there are powered and unpowered sites, dorm bunk rooms, double rooms or self catering units.  Now I say rooms and units but these are more like pods.  They are actually recycled shipping containers that have been converted and to say they are cool well that would be an under-statement, even down to the communal kitchen and ablution block – really tastefully done.

old rail bridge over Totara river West Coast wilderness trail Ross

Ross is possibly more known of late as being either the finish or the start of the West Coast Wilderness Trail – part of the NZ Cycle Trial system around New Zealand.  The West Coast Wilderness Trail goes from Greymouth to Ross – some 139kms through some of the most stunning West Coast scenery on offer.  The Totara Bridge Station is a great accommodation option for people using the cycleway.

ross beach with misty clouds

We weren’t here to do any biking (I know – what!) but with two days up our sleeves we had plenty of time to explore the offerings of Ross.  Compulsory would be a walk on the beach.  Predominately a sandy beach, from the Ross Beach road you can head off in either direction – literally for miles.  Nico and I didn’t venture too far but did enjoy just meandering with the sand between our toes and relaxing in the sunshine.  Stephen and Ziggy headed off to the south – out towards the point.  There is a seal colony out here so you often get seals anywhere along the beach lazing in the sunshine.

sunset over Tasman Sea from Ross beach

One thing I never get sick of are West Coast sunsets.  I know we live by the sea and get to see them all the time  but I just can’t help myself – they draw you in and each one is different and special in its own right – no matter what beach you are on.  I’m obviously not alone in my thinking as some of the locals came down both nights we were here, pulled up, watched the sunset and then headed back home for the night.

historic empire hotel ross

For us after we’d seen the sunset,  we headed into Ross for dinner at the Historic Empire Hotel.  Talk about your traditional Kiwi country pub.  This place rocked!  So much atmosphere and history – you could almost feel it oozing from the walls.  The bar was filled with locals and visitors alike.  Quite a few workmen in the area at the moment – for gold mining and tree planting apparently.  Everyone was friendly and eager with a smile.  Maria behind the bar and Christine out in the kitchen were all smiles and the bistro buffet was just what the doctor ordered.  After a cold beer or two by the roaring fire and with satiated tummies it was time to head back to base and hit the hay for the night.

My only regret during our stay was not getting out to take some night photos.  The star lit skies would have to have been some of the best I’ve seen for a very long time.  We get some awesome star lit skies at home but the two nights we had in Ross they were quite out of this world – and you’re just going to have to trust me on that.

main street Ross town of goldinformation centre town centre Ross

Next day after another compulsory short walk on the beach, we headed into Ross to the Goldfields Museum and Information Centre.  While Stephen did a walk about town, I chatted with the lovely lady in the Information Centre who was super friendly and helpful.  Nico and I then went back to base to make a picnic lunch while Stephen and Ziggy headed off to check out the historic Gold Heritage Trail.

gold heritage trail with views to lake Rosshistoric goldfields trail rosshistoric goldfields tail race track ross

This is a lovely walk in the back of Ross, following the water race as it wound its way up the hillside.  There are lots of relics and information boards with a cool old miners hut at the top of the trail before the trail joins with the historic Ross cemetery.

historic Ross cemeteryross historic cemetery with Ziggy playing peek a boo

It was here that Nico and I joined Stephen and Ziggy for our lunch.  Something about sitting in among the graves and headstones – we find it very peaceful and therapeutic.  Not bad views from up here either! Peek-a-boo I see you……

Ross cemetery with views overlooking valley

Now to give you an indication of how Ross was once a thriving metropolis (remember earlier I mentioned a population of 300 now v 4000 back in the late 1800s) well Ross has two historic cemeteries.  Knowing how we love cemeteries an investigation of the second cemetery was compulsory – aaahh I think we’re in heaven – excuse the pun.  What we did wonder is if perhaps one cemetery was Catholic and the other Protestant – they both certainly seemed of similar age historically.  The latter of our cemetery visits though is also the current use cemetery and again what a location – what a view.  Sitting atop a hill with views in all directions.  Think we’ve found our lunch stop when we next need a place to stop on route to – well anywhere…..

Jan and Nico enjoying a beach walk at RossNico, Jan and Ziggy at the beach Ross

Our afternoon excursion saw us taking a drive further south from Ross (about 15kms or so), turning down Beach Road off SH6 just before the Waitaha River bridge, passing through the little settlement of Kakapotahi and coming out at the river mouth of the Waitaha River.  The beach was strewn with driftwood – as far as the eye could see.  It would be a driftwood sculpture’s idea of heaven – talk about untamed natural wilderness.  The boys and I were content to find a nice log and sit and relax and enjoy the views while Stephen took some (more tee hee) photographs.  Watching the surf pound in against the shoreline is rather mesmerizing to say the least.

sunset from lookout seat Totara Bridge Station at Ross beachsunset reflections at accommodation at Totara Bridge Station Ross

Back to base to feed the boys and catch another stunning sunset.  Once again some of the locals turned up – like us they just sat and watched and then headed off again.  I could watch a sunset every night of the week and it was great to see I wasn’t alone in that thinking.  The sun setting into the sea should not be taken for granted, not every one is so lucky. This one set the sky on fire – so much so it made it look like the holiday park accommodation was on fire with the reflections in their windows.  Rest assured a call to the local fire brigade was not necessary.

Empire Hotel Ross under night lights

With the boys tummies satiated – yep our turn and it was back to the Empire Hotel for a traditional country pub feed.  Something else I could do every night of the week – but then I’d be the size of a house so while watching a sunset whenever you like is allowable – and even advised, eating pub food too often is definitely not.  We enjoyed it while we could though and then back to check the boys and settle in for the night.

reflections on the Totara River Ross

Another day dawns and all too soon it is time to pack up and head for home.  Our little break away to Ross has been fantastic.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather and the people of Ross – from Sue & Andy at Totara Bridge Station, to Maria & Christine from Empire Hotel and the lovely people we met at the Information centre and the locals in the pub, all helped make our experience all the more enjoyable.

kisses with Nico and Ziggy on Ross beach

On a more heartbreaking note – we want to dedicate this blog posting to our beautiful boy Nico who recently passed away.  Our family chain has broken and our hearts are broken with it.  He was one super special dog – our big fella, our gentle giant, so full of love and joy.  So glad to have had this final road trip with him – he loved coming on our adventures, loved meeting new people and exploring new places.  Rest easy our beautiful boy – you will remain forever in our hearts. xo

Nico enjoying the beach

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  Together with their much-loved faithful companions Nico and Ziggy they enjoy getting out and exploring the region they’ve been lucky enough to call home – The Untamed Natural Wilderness West Coast.

 

 

Posted in beaches, Dalmatian, dogs, Mountain biking New Zealand, Nature, NZ history, outdoors, photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Rarotonga – From one Island Paradise to Another

There is a recurring theme from many of our guests at Breakers Boutique Accommodation when I ask them how long is their holiday – three weeks, four weeks, even six weeks in NZ but finishing with a few days on a Pacific Island, predominately Rarotonga.  Well say no more – for us this is a no brainer, we have to check it out and make sure it is the right thing to do…… it’s a hard job but really someone had to do it……

blue callings of rarotonga lagoon

Flying in we get an immediate sense this was the right thing to do.  You can see the whole island from the plane window at only 32 kilometres round and surrounded by crystal clear lagoon waters with the reef protecting it from the crashing waves from the sea.  Oh this is going to be bliss.

enjoying the views in Rarotonga

Now your trip to Raro can be as relaxing or active as you like.  Best thing is you don’t need to pack much.  Remember though it is an island with towering mountains in the middle so you can expect rain and in fact should expect rain at some stage.  You may not get any but I like to work with the rule of thumb – have a rain jacket and you won’t need it, don’t take one and it will rain.

Lyas bungalows in the evening light at Rarotonga

This is our third visit to Rarotonga so we know our way around pretty well.  We like to be self-sufficient and book our accommodation through Rentraro.  They have properties all over the island that they manage and there is something for everyone and every budget.  This trip we chose a little one room bungalow – called Lyas on the South side of the island in Titikaveka and the sub-village of Tikioki.  This area has possible the best beach for swimming and is a renown snorkeling area – well just along the road anyway.  We made a point of lazing in the waters every morning and every evening.  A great way to start and finish our day.

scooter power rarotonga

One thing we have noticed during our visit to Raro is an increase in tourist population – this meaning an increase in vehicles on the road.  The first year we came it was predominately scooters – the favoured choice of transport for the locals and used to be for visitors too.  Unfortunately there are now numerous car hire options – can’t say I’m a fan and don’t think it is necessary.  Part of the appeal of the island is riding around on your scooter – with a speed limit of 30kms and 50kms you don’t really need a car to get anywhere.  That would be my main recommendation – hire a scooter, be like a local.  They are super cheap to rent and the price of petrol is bordering on ridiculous.  Think it cost us $5.00 to fill ours.

soaking up the views as we bike around Rarotonga

We also hire a mountain bike when we visit.  The roads are generally flat, if you head inland you might find a hill or two but the main outer road is flat the whole way round.  It pretty much follows the lagoon waters too so you get great views and can stop anywhere you like for a cooling dip in the waters.

There are plenty of eateries on the Island – again something for every budget but generally pretty inexpensive.  A popular item on most menus is a fish burger of some sort – think I’m in heaven.  We were lucky enough to be based right across the road from Charlies – a popular eatery with locals and visitors alike (you’ve seriously got to try their fish sandwich).  You can also hire paddle-boards and snorkeling gear here too.  There are other places dotted around the Island so options aplenty.

muri night market at Rarotongaofferings at muri night market Rarotonga

Another must do eating option would be the Muri night markets.  A great selection of local fare often complete with local entertainment.

descending the needle hike in Rarotonga

We’re not big into fishing trips, pub crawls, diving, snorkeling, island nights or other tourist based activities.  That’s just us but there are plenty of those options for if you wish.  For us it just about a slow pedal around the island on our bikes or a walk along the beach – or a hike up the Needle.  Personally I think a hike up the Needle is a must do for everyone.  It is portrayed as strenuous but it isn’t really that bad.  Oh sure you will be huffing and puffing and probably taking lots of breaks on the way up but that’s ok, you’re on island time, there is no rush.  It may be super slippery after rain so do take good care – is very tree rooty, so much so in places it’s more like climbing a ladder…. I’m probably not selling it to you so far.  But we get to the top in less than 40 minutes – so take deep breaths and go for it.  The views are worth it – although in saying that follow the signs to head down the other side – but only for five minutes – literally to the top before you start the real descent.

views of the needle from the needle walk in Rarotonga

You’ll know where I mean when you get there – there the views really open up for you.  You can carry on down to the waterfall if you want – it is was our plan this year but we’d recently had heavy rain making the ground super slippery and last thing we needed was a visit to the hospital so we played it safe and went back down the way we knew (town side).

spotting the little reef fish off the wharf at Rarotonga

So this isn’t our usual “this is what we’ve been up to” blog posting.  This is more an information based blog – hopefully helping you make an informed decision about what to see and do if you visit Rarotonga.  In summary:

beaches of Rarotonga

The island is around 32kms round – split into West, North, East and South – easy eh!  West side is sunset side with coral based beaches.  We stayed this side first visit and while loved it for the sunsets didn’t find it the best for swimming as quite windy and a rocky shoreline. North is the more touristy side – home of Muri for all your water sports and main tourist based activities.  Huge amount of accommodation and eateries.  East side for the sunrise and possibly least windy side.  Renown side for snorkeling – the tourist trips all end up bringing their groups out to this side.  South side – possibly least rocky side of island, less touristy/busy but prettier for walking/biking as predominately following water line for duration and best side for swimming.

Accommodation:

Self booking/self catering check out Rentraro.  We’ve always dealt with Eddie and he is super informative and helpful.

Hotels:

West side – Edgewater Resort, Sunset Resort; North side – Club Raro (between town centre and Muri), Pacific Resort – right in the heart of Muri; nothing really more residential and holiday homes with exception Little Polynesian but super expensive – if you can afford it though I’d be going there for sure – what a spot!; South side – The Rarotongan.  If we were going to stay in a hotel style accommodation I’d be opting for The Rarotongan due to its location on the South side of the Island.

There are numerous other options, the above are just a small selection of the main hotels.

Transport:

Hire a scooter but if you have to hire a car…… hire a mini convertible – you might as well look cool!  We use Polynesian Bike Hire for both our scooter and mountain bike rental.

Hire a mountain bike.  We opted for the jumbo bikes – fat tyres and while you’re not doing any off-road as such the roads are in such poor condition for the most part the fat tyres give you more comfort.

missionary church at Rarotongaback road in Rarotonga

Church – a must do when visiting Rarotonga is attending a Church service.  Aside from beautiful buildings these are wonderful to attend and listen to the locals singing – nothing short of heavenly (I know but it couldn’t be helped).

leaving the church service Rarotonga

Finally.  Explore – take the inland route, especially round the south side of the island, so lush and green.  Take the little gravel back roads – they usually eventually end up back on the main outer route but you’ll get to see where all the fruit/veges come from, get away from the traffic and can even discover some seriously cool rock-pools ………..

rock pools Rarotonga

or hidden hideaways to just sit in wonderment.

soaking up the views off the rocks Rarotonga

Most importantly – relax, it is the very reason you’ve come here.  Take off your watch, turn off your phone, unplug, get outside, immerse yourself in nature – you will be more connected than ever 🙂

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy sharing their experiences with their guests and helping ensure they make the most of the travels to this part of the world – no matter where the Island paradise…….

 

Posted in beaches, photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

10 Mile Valley – Valley of Mines Becomes Valley of Waterfalls

Drip, drip, drip, plop, plop, plop

gurgle, gurgle, gurgle, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh

cascading waterfall amongst the native forest 10 mile valley walk

That’s the sound of the rain slowly turning the 10 mile valley from the Valley of Mines into the Valley of Waterfalls.

dripping water against the mossy rockface 10 mile valley

Many people curse the rain but for us here on the West Coast we embrace it and all the joy and beauty that it brings with it.

10 mile creek and waterfall 10 mile valley walk

The 10 mile valley after rainfall comes alive with the fast flowing creek waters and the sounds of nature changing.  The native bush and moss shimmer as the water flows over it and the greens are intensified – so vibrant and lush.

hanging waterfall amongst the lush green bush 10 mile

What was once merely a pretty rock face soon becomes a cascade of water reminiscent of a new bride’s wedding veil – it is don’t you think……  It springs to mind as good friends in Germany daughter is getting married today.

waterfall and green native forest 10 mile valley

In Hindu culture they say rain on your wedding day is good luck because it signifies that your marriage will last.

“A knot that becomes wet is extremely hard to untie – therefore, when you “tie the knot” on a rainy day, your marriage is supposedly just as hard to unravel! ”  I love it – just another reason to love a rainy day.

We dedicate this blog to Nadine & Artur and wish them all the best for their special day.

Next time you go to curse a rainy day – look around you, you may be surprised by the beauty that is uncovered.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They love getting out and about exploring the many beauties that make up this gorgeous region.

Posted in Grey District, Nature, NZ flora and fauna, outdoors, photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Road Less Traveled – Taking a Drive through Untamed Natural Wilderness

It is so easy to get caught up with following the mainstream – be it in everyday life and including a road well-traveled.  Sometimes we like to get in the car and just go for a drive – nowhere in particular.  Recently we decided to head out for a drive into the Grey Valley – Heart of the West Coast back country.

waikiti downs back country roads

Can’t confess to be completely on a “let’s just drive mission” – we did have a general plan – sort of.  We headed out the Grey Valley turning off towards Nelson Creek and out to Lake Haupiri and beyond.  The road just keeps going – on and on deep into back country farm land.  There was just us and lots and lots – did I mention lots,  of dairy cows.  Their backdrop isn’t bad though – surrounded by natural untamed wilderness with hills covered in NZ native bush and intertwined with gurgling rivers and streams.  Almost seems unfair for them to practically have this backdrop to themselves.

waikiti river on misty winters day

Eventually, given the rainfall of late the road got a little mucky even for us – we sure didn’t want to risk getting bogged down out in the middle of no-where.  Oh we had passed a few farm houses but still feels like the middle of no-where.

rainbows and reflections lake haupirimoody clouds reflecting in Lake Haupiri

We turned back and made a bee-line for Lake Haupiri which we had driven passed on route.  It was spitting the first time round and now – well I can’t say the skies had cleared but it wasn’t spitting.  In fact it was picture perfect.  Not a breath of wind affording us fabulous reflections – both of the surrounding untamed countryside and the moody clouds hovering above the mountains.

moody skies and their reflections in Lake Haupirimoody reflections and mist on Lake Haupiri

Was one of those moments in time where you could just stand there and reflect – excuse the pun, on the fortunes of life bringing us to this little slice of paradise.  Many say we are lucky to live here – in fact we often say it ourselves but in retrospect we choose to live here, we love the West Coast, we love the Grey District – we love the untamed natural wilderness and that doesn’t mean getting lost in a dense forest or climbing a mountain but untamed and natural – a wilderness almost as God created and where when it has been touched by man, nature soon returns to her natural beauty.

Next time think about taking that road less traveled – you never know the journey it may lead you on and the beauty you will discover.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They love nothing more than getting out and about and exploring the region and everything it has to offer.

 

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

Kiwi meets Kiwi – Paparoa Wildlife Trust

Stephen and I get to experience some pretty cool things living on the West Coast.  With our vast varying scenery – mountains, sea, rivers, lakes, native bush and oodles of history.  Our latest experience though would have to rate up there as one of the most fantastic we’ve done yet – and it is going to be hard to beat n the future.

Poutini the Great Spotted Kiwi

We recently had the opportunity of meeting a real live Kiwi.  Yes folks Kiwi meets Kiwi.

In the back of Greymouth at the base of the Paparoa mountain range is a Kiwi crèche.  Set up by the Paparoa Wildlife Trust the crèche is the holding ground for juvenile Great Spotted Kiwi (Roroa in Maori).  The Great Spotted Kiwi are the largest of the four species of Kiwi and the most endangered.

learning about Great Spotted Kiwi

We met Jo, the Trust’s dedicated Kiwi Ranger at the crèche together with another couple  – Alvin and Bev both originally from the West Coast, Reefton and Hokitika respectively but now living in Australia.  Jo explained the intricacies of running the crèche and keeping it predator proof.  We got the chance to learn more about this fascinating bird, its feathers (super soft) and egg-shell (super thin and fragile).  Jo goes into the backcountry of the Paparoas finding the adult bird (thanks to a transmitter fitted to their leg), monitors them and when an egg is laid, after a safe period the egg is removed and taken to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Christchurch where it is kept in incubation until hatching and once at a safe age/size brought back over to the West Coast to the creche where it will stay until around 1-year-old, a healthy age and weight to be released back into the wild where it can generally look after itself.

Kiwi birds are at their most vulnerable from egg through to one year old or 1kg in weight.  Then they are for the most part strong enough to fight off most predators.

In search of great spotted kiwi

After our quick lesson we head off to some scrub land where Jo is pretty sure the current residents of the crèche have their burrows.  We’re here to do the monthly health check on Poutini – the youngest of the three chicks currently at the creche. The scrub is thick with gorse and cutty grass and very swampy.  The chicks have a transmitter on the leg so Jo is listening intently for signs of the Kiwi.  We can hear the transmitter beeping away so know he isn’t far.

searching for great spotted kiwi

Jo is well experienced and fairly sure she knows Poutini is in a particular set of scrub grass – down she goes into the scrub, belly on the ground foraging to find the burrow.  There are some great moves going on – you definitely don’t want to be shy of getting down and dirty.  Two attempts with no luck but the transmitter is telling us he is definitely in here somewhere.  We can even hear him ourselves.

Great Spotted Kiwi is found

Down goes Jo for another attempt and this time success.  You can’t help but beam when she comes up with this little guy in her arms.

taking the weight Poutini the great spotted kiwi

measuring the beak Poutini the great spotted kiwi

I’m lucky enough to be Jo’s assistant with this health check – that means I too get up close and personal.  Close enough to touch but of course I don’t – I just stare in wonderment.  Jo takes Poutini’s weight and measures his beak length.  This all helps with the data they collect on the health of the bird ensuring it is eating right etc.

She also changes the leg the transmitter is attached to – this is done with each monthly health check, that way as the Kiwi grows the transmitter doesn’t cause any damage to the leg.

feet of Poutini the great spotted kiwi

We take photos of the legs as there is a new study being done regarding their legs and scales on the legs.  Up close the legs look very prehistoric.  It will be a fascinating study to read once finished.

Little Poutini is doing really well – putting on good weight and there is no damage to his beak.

cuddle time great spotted kiwi

All too soon it is time for him to go back into his burrow and be left to do what Kiwis do best during the day – go back to sleep in peace.

 

That was some experience – an experience of a lifetime and one not many New Zealanders get to experience for themselves so Stephen and I feel very privileged to have had such an opportunity. Huge thanks to Jo for allowing us to come along for today’s health check.

Poutini the great spotted kiwi resting

The Paparoa Wildlife Trust is a community conservation initiative dedicated to running effective conservation projects in the Paparoa Ranges near Greymouth. Their goal is to halt the decline of highly threatened native species.  Their main focus since incorporation in 2006 has been on management, research and advocacy for great spotted kiwi (roroa) in the south Paparoa Ranges – our backyard!

To support the efforts of the Paparoa Wildlife Trust we sponsor three stoat traps.  As it is a predominately volunteer run organisation they really do appreciate all the financial help they can get.  Most recently they entered the Trust Power National Community Awards for the Grey District and were awarded the Supreme Award.  This means they now go on to the National event come October and we certainly wish them all the best.

If you would like to help, they gratefully accept donations or you too can sponsor a stoat trap.  By doing so you will receive an annual update on what predators your trap is catching.  Check out their website to see how you can help. http://pwt.org.nz/support/

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 love living in this little slice of paradise they get to call home.

 

 

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

Point Elizabeth Track – A little bit of Untamed Wilderness

 

Point elizabeth track with views to Southern AlpsThe Point Elizabeth track would have to be Greymouth’s premier walking track.  Running from the shores of North Beach… north of Cobden and finishing at Rapahoe Beach just off State Highway 6 at the gateway to the Great Coast Road.

point elizabeth track in the undergrowthpoint elizabeth track and views to tasman sea

The trail meanders along the cliff-tops through semi subtropical rain forest and often offers great coastal views.  The Cobden end has information boards for many of the trees and shrubs which we always find useful.  The DOC website describes the bush as one of the finest remaining tracts of mixed coastal forest in New Zealand.  Even I’ve learned something new today……

While it is Greymouth’s premier walking track it is probably the most under-rated.  We often recommend this trail to our guests and they come back blown away by its natural beauty.

point elizabeth track and native natural vegetation

point elizabeth track and natural vegetation

The trail follows an old water race that gold miners used to sluice their gold claims so is a great trail of history but without any remaining relics to oooh and aahhh over.  That’s ok though the bush gives plenty of reason for that.

Approximately half way you have the “Point Elizabeth lookout” – a great viewpoint of the gorgeous coastline as it winds its way north.  If you could see below you’d know there is a seal colony below you.  With the sea slowly eroding the limestone cliffs though you can’t see below only out so you’ll just have to trust me on this.  A walk along the Rapahoe beach though and all would be revealed.  What you can often see are Dolphins playing in the surf out off the rock stacks – now that is a seriously cool sight indeed.  No luck on this walk though – more of a summer sight than during a winter walk.

point elizabeth track and untamed natural wilderness

point elizabeth meander through the natural forest

The second half of the walk I would describe more as untamed wilderness.  Don’t get me wrong, it is still a formed track but the bush just seems a little more wild and unruly, the naughty kids sitting at the back of the classroom.

point elizabeth track meander through the wilderness

This weekend we had our good friends Bernie and Gerard visiting from Franz Josef – fellow b&b operators who own the beautiful Holly Homestead.  Always a good excuse to head out and showcase some of the local attractions.  The Point Elizabeth track can be walked in either direction if you arrange for a pick up at the other end or organise a car shuttle or alternatively you can walk in and out or just to the “point” and back out – whew, confused – basically there is something for everyone depending on your organisation and time.

point elizabeth track and views to Great Coast Road and Rapahoe

Stephen and Bernie headed out for an early morning walk of the track – Cobden to Rapahoe.  A gorgeous way to start the day and with the views of the Great Coast Road and Rapahoe to end with, a nice way to end a meander through some natural untamed wilderness on 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 exploring the many wonders this region has to offer and sharing and showcasing to anyone interested.

 

Posted in beaches, Grey District, Nature, NZ flora and fauna, NZ history, outdoors, photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments