We’ve just been visiting with Ian and Sue from Kotuku Pottery out near Lake Brunner and decided to stop and stretch our legs at the Arnold River Dam Walk. This is a walk we seem to forget about, which is shame because it really is quite gorgeous.
I have fond memories of the first time I ever did this walk. I hadn’t long moved to the area and was trying to get out and about exploring all the little walks nearby so I could recommend them to my guests at the Breakers.
Jed – my German short-haired Pointer, my shadow and my best friend was with me as usual. There wasn’t anywhere I didn’t go that Jed didn’t come with me back then. We arrived at the car park for this walk – it is in the back of beyond, well seems like it anyway and the entrance to the trail was through a gate leading into a paddock…… we entered….. and were met by a stroppy horse and looming up behind was an even stroppier (is that a word?) Llama. The horse stamped his feet at us and the Llama hissed – well, can’t say I’ve ever been hissed at before. Jed was hiding behind me wondering what on earth these huge things were. We promptly went back out the gate. I said to Jed “this has to be the way, there is a sign on the gate saying the name of the track”. We looked around – there certainly didn’t seem to be any other option. Ok, so we re-enter and are again “accosted” by the horse and Llama. Back out the gate we go – this is ridiculous!!!! I leave Jed on the “safe” side of the gate and enter myself – the horse and Llama have gone over to the other end of the paddock and are just looking at me. I follow the path to see where it leads and just around the corner there is another gate that takes you to the picnic area and start of the track proper. Ok, we can do this. I go back and get Jed and we try again – come on Jed, let’s just run for it. We walk fast to the next gate, horse and Llama making a be-line back in our direction but we get to the next gate before them and are safely on the other side – ha! Got ya! Yep, sounds crazy and it was a crazy moment – guess you had to be there – we must have looked right silly! Real crazy thing is that on our way back out the horse and Llama didn’t take any notice of us at all – what was that all about!
Anyway, while the track still starts in the same place, it is no longer used as a paddock and there is no stroppy horse or Llama to contend with. Happy memories though – always puts a smile on my face.
This walk is signposted from the Arnold Valley Road 14 km north of Moana and 10 km south of Stillwater. It starts at the power house and first passes the hydro-electric power station before entering the native forest filled with kahikatea, miro and huge rimu trees, that is adjacent to the river within the Arnold River Scenic Reserve. The track meanders through the forest and then climbs up to the top of a terrace and continues to wind around the terrace before descending to the river crossing point again. On route you get some fantastic views of the Arnold River Dam itself and the river beyond.
This is a trail of mixtures which help keep it interesting considering it is only a couple of kilometres long – with the dense native forest, climb up to the terrace for views to the river and dam and then back down through swamp like land across board walks.
The track starts and finishes in a grassy area that has been set up as a picnic area. I have to say, it isn’t a particularly well signposted track which is a shame because it really is a stunning area and so peaceful. Check it out some time if you’re in the area – you will be pleasantly surprised!
Jan and Stephen love to get out exploring the West Coast – usually with their faithful friends Nico and Ziggy. Check out their other blog postings or see their website for suggestions for things to see and do on the West Coast.