So do you ever look at where you live and think “wow, how lucky am I?”.
Well I do – almost every day and today was no exception. Today we were off to walk the Bain Bay track at Mitchells – located on the south-east side of Lake Brunner, slightly inland from Greymouth.
To get here you head south to Kumara Junction and then inland on SH73 to Kumara to then turn inland again following the signs for Mitchells.
This in itself is a lovely valley drive, following first the Taramakau River and then the Hohonu river. Once following the Hohonu River we leave the sealed road and drive smooth metal road through the Hohonu Scenic Reserve and Forrest to arrive on the shores of Lake Brunner at Mitchells and the start of the Bain Bay walk.
The track is signposted as 1.5 hours each way with warnings if the lake is high some boardwalks are impassable. Looks all good today – although there is much wind making for quite a chop on the lake, we haven’t been inundated with rain lately so the lake level should be manageable when we come to that section. First up and we are greeted with a sighting of a white heron. This is a nice little treat to start our adventure with.
The walk follows the shores of the lake only ever leaving it for a few metres. This means some swampy wetlands to cross in places and that’s where the boardwalks are. The track heads towards and then into the native forest – filled with kahikatea, matai and rimu trees, and tall tree ferns.
It is a dense canopy with moss and lichen growing on the trees. Surrounded completely by green and then with the sound of the slapping of the waves and the blue of the lake – awesome!
There are quite a few trees and branches down in places with some of the larger trees stretching out into the waters. They make for a dramatic landscape, especially when some of them are still alive and the foliage continues to grow – looks like the trees are just having a lie down, getting tired from being on their “feet” all day.
There are parts to the trail where you have to walk through the edge of the water. This is another section that if the lake was high it would make it impassable from here on. We certainly have our timing right as there is no issue today. The dogs enjoy the opportunity to put their feet in the water and have a little cooling off too.
It is a pretty mixture of vegetation on this walk – sand, water, native forest, swamp grass, flax bushes, ferns of all shapes and sizes. It seems a constant changing landscape.
Eventually the trail comes out at Bain Bay. This is a secluded DOC camping and picnic area. Stephen tells me it is a very popular camping spot at New Year. The boaties drop their camping gear off and set up for a bbq in the evening to watch the new year in. I guess those keen enough can hike in with their gear but boating it in sounds like a good idea to me! There are some old relics at this end of the trail also – left over from the timber milling days.
For us it is our lunch stop. We’re not always so well prepared but heading off before lunch and with it being such a lovely day, I was organised this morning with sandwiches and fruit and of course some water. It was nice to sit and relax with the views of the lake and the mountains in the distance and enjoy the peace and quiet. It would seem someone else was keen to do this too though……
Time to head back – it is an in and an out track, back out the same way we came in. All good though, such a lovely walk and such a lovely day for a walk.
Think we deserve an ice cream after that………
Jan and Stephen are often out exploring around the West Coast. See their website Breakers Boutique Accommodation for other things to see and do in the area or check out some of their other blog postings.