Check out those views I call to Stephen – “yeah yeah, I see them, I see them before you do and guess what I’m going to see them even better on the way back” he replies …… smarty pants……
I love views – any views and today’s view is looking up the Inangahua River and Valley towards Blacks Point just along from Reefton. One word – gorgeous! We are high up in the beech forest – here a little by accident. Not the track we were thinking of and I have to say thankfully! There was talk of a new track connecting Blacks Point to Reefton suitable for mountain biking. Walking this track I was picking I was going to be doing a lot of walking with my bike. We soon discovered it wasn’t the same track – way too narrow for mountain biking but a lovely track for walking. We’ll take that thank you.
We’re in Reefton, a little historic gold and coal mining town inland from Greymouth. The dogs are with us – can’t go far without our boys and the mountain bikes have come for the trip too. We’re hoping to get some riding in but with the weather forecast not looking promising it may be just hiking and relaxing for this visit. That’s ok, change of scenery is as good as anything. At the moment though we are off for a leg stretch before heading out for a bite for dinner. Want to tire the boys out so they’ll settle in for the night. We know there is a loop track in behind the township so that is what we thought we’d do. We can let the boys off the lead and they can have a decent leg stretch.
The track starts on the main road – Reefton Lookout track and is a sharp steep climb to begin with – normally…… yes I say normally we’d go straight ahead, the obvious way following the ridgeline above the township. BUT we see another track veering to the right and are like “oh the new link track let’s go and have a look……” .
There is a makeshift sign perhaps a bit of a giveaway “Pipeline track to Blacks Point”. One of those things that you see but don’t really trust – the sign is after all only the size of my hand. We know the new link track eventually ends up at Blacks Point so assume it is one and the same.
The trail is incredibly narrow following the old pipeline high above the village as it winds its way round the mountainside to the little settlement of Blacks Point. There are a few slips along the way and whoever has been working on the trail has done a good job clearing or in some places even re-diverting the trail. There are sections where it is like walking on gold flakes – if only! The beech trees are changing colour and their leaves fall like gold droplets all over the ground.
Along the way there are a couple of even smaller signs than the one at the start where the track diverts down to the main road – yep that’s what the sign says “main road” hand written on an orange arrow marker. The trail eventually comes to a dead-end. I think it has become too hard to reopen from here on in. We are right up above the small settlement of Blacks Point – only around 2kms back to Reefton. We think “ok, we’ll head down to the main road and just walk back with the boys on their leads”. Downwards we start and this definitely isn’t part of the normal track – it is pretty obvious to tell this is a track in the making – a bit of work to do I think. With careful foot placement we slowly make our decent but then decide it is just too dangerous – can see someone ending up on their bottom very quickly. We are surprisingly high up and there is still quite a bit of clambering to do before we reach the main road so we decide to head back up and back along the trail the way we came. Back up we go – great says Stephen, you could have decided going down wasn’t such a good idea a bit sooner. Got to be good for you right!
Oh – there are those views again. Gorgeous! We’re back at the Reefton lookout track before we know it. Funny how it never seems to take as long or be as hard a trail on the way out as on the way in. Oh – more views, this time over the town of Reefton. Lights are starting to come on – getting late and if we don’t get a wriggle on we won’t find someone still open for dinner. Have certainly worked up an appetite so don’t want to miss out on dinner – otherwise it will be bowls of cereal mmmmmm
Well what do you know….. look what do we see but another track heading up the hill – more open – ok this must be the new link track – looks much more rideable, beside the fact it is straight up and steep but at least it is wide and no chance of not getting feet out of pedals and tumbling down through the undergrowth. Ok, tomorrow we’ll head to the Information Centre, ensure we have the correct track info and head off for a ride. For now though we have tired puppies and hungry tummies – food time.
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. Together with their two dogs Nico and Ziggy, they enjoy getting out and exploring the many hidden treasures that make up the West Coast. Check out their other blog postings or Activities page on their website for suggestions on other things to see and do on the West Coast of the Southern Alps.