Whenever we have my parents visit we always try to showcase something they haven’t seen before on their visits to the West Coast.
With clear skies and sunshine we headed south to check out the West Coast Treetop Walkway.
Based at the edge of the beautiful Mahinapua Scenic Reserve the walkway meanders through native rain forest with towering Rimu and Kamahi trees.
Don’t think we could have picked a better day for photography, the lighting was near perfect and there was not a breath of wind.
At one end of the walkway you have the option of climbing the tower putting you 40 metres above ground. Some 107 steps later and maybe the odd deep breath you reach the top.
It is worth the heavy breathing as it affords you some fantastic views in all directions – The snow-capped Southern Alps, out to the Tasman Sea – valleys inland and of course the gorgeous Lake Mahinapua that the reserve boarders.
Together with your interpretation map you receive on entry there are “stopping” points along the walkway giving you various information regarding the region, bird life and the different species of trees.
Digging deep into our memory banks Mum, Dad and I enjoy trying our best to figure out the various native trees. It is amazing how different they can look when you are in their canopy versus what you are used to at ground level. Some too are quite different in their juvenile form to that of their adult version so it is quite the learning experience.
Our final stop is out onto the cantilevered swing-bridge. This is a bit of a surreal experience – how can this thing possible stay upright. There is a bit of movement – designed as such of course.
The views out over the lake and reserve do help to keep the brain occupied as it struggles with the concept of hanging in mid-air.
I love when we go somewhere we’ve spent a lot of time previously (we often bike the Mahinapua walkway) yet learn something new. This time it was some history regarding the reserve – named a reserve in 1907 – making it one of the oldest reserves in NZ. A walk with nature and a history lesson all in one. The West Coast Treetop Walkway – a walk with the giants.
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoy getting out and about and exploring as much of the region as possible.