Stop pinching me. Well you said you need pinched when we go exploring here on the West Coast, well here we are another exploration another stunning wow adventure in the wilderness………
Guess I need to watch what I say eh! But hubby is quite right, we’re off exploring again and yes it is another wow hike in the wonderful West Coast bush.
Our latest mission is the Klondyke Routes on the Rahau Saddle just East of Reefton. With two route options we’ve chosen the lower of the two – the Klondyke Valley.
Now one would assume “the lower of the two” and “valley walk” to be that – a valley walk. But oh no turns out one would be wrong – oh so wrong.
This hike is a gentle climb, turning into gradual climb and ending with a steeper climb nearer the top to come out into an alpine valley. aaahh so that is where Valley walk comes from.
The Valley opens out with two beautiful tarns fed by a towering waterfall and surrounded by rugged peaks and swampy scrub land and on this occasion snow! Now that’s when you know it is winter and you’re in an alpine valley.
This is a walk up through predominately beach forest.
With each new bush walk we are constantly astounded by the intensity of the greens. This walk was to be no exception – it’s like 50 shades of green.
We’re back out with our friend Nina and her dog Raewyn from Westport. Nina has explored most of these trails all before so she is a great guide – except I’m pretty sure her description was “not really up and not really down”.
Turns out was a while since she’d done this hike and she did the Klondyke Spur and came down the Klondyke Valley walk. Don’t worry she got a ribbing about it by Mr Photographer as we were continually climbing up. Good thing about hiking with Mr Photographer is we stop often so apart from having to get a wriggle on for timing we get lots of breathing breaks – not that Nina or Raewyn need them, they are just for us slighter less fitter of our little party.
Actually I am exaggerating on the gradient of this hike – definitely hilly, we were climbing up to an alpine valley at the end of the day, but it did meander a lot with gentle climbs and little downs. Nina spotted one section where she thought she might see Little Red Riding Hood walking along….
nope it was little miss pink top skipping through the undergrowth.
As for Ziggy well he is the ultimate photo bomber. Can you see me Dad? He’s a good boy and comes back to check on Dad to see if he is still coming – alright for those with four paw drive……
Found some interesting new plant life that we hadn’t noticed on previous walks. They say there are over 500 fern species in NZ and I’d thought I’d seen most of them – well ok so maybe not all 500 but as turns out definitely not all 500 as this was a newbie for me. Small but really thick – I can’t describe it and don’t even have a photo of it so you’ll just have to trust me on this one – very cool though!
Now you’ve also probably looked at these photos and thought mmm must be a bit of photo shopping here surely it isn’t that green in the NZ forest. Well trust us – we have back up with Nina, this forest really was this green – insane eh!
After being teased that we may be nearing the top with some snow in amongst the bush we finally make it the valley floor.
Amazing to be so intrenched in the bush to suddenly open out into the valley. It is gorgeous here – tussock poking up out of the snow drifts and part of the tarn being frozen over with ice.
Ziggy does his usual “fishing” tricks trying hard to stare out our possible lunch but thankfully Nina was more reliable with her billy to do a boil up for our hot soup and our homemade sandwich. No fresh fish for us lol. Love him for his consistency in looking though – one day Mum, one day……
Not a bad spot for lunch eh!
As you can probably tell it is pretty cold up here so Nina and I take a wander to get a closer look at the waterfall and craggy rock faces and help warm up. If we look hard we can even see huge icicles hanging off the cliff edges. Nina informs us we can hike up the side of the waterfall to a plateau to view some gorgeous alpine lakes and be even closer to those craggy rocks. Not for today – too much snow this time round. Definitely a summer trip for us – doing the whole loop, Klondyke Spur and down the Klondyke Valley. Something to look forward to.
We’re all getting cold though so time to make our way back down to the car. Still a good hour or so of walking ahead of us and we don’t want to run out of daylight! Time to re-enter the green room……. that and we have to ensure we’re down in time before the bakery closes……. 😉
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They love getting out and about and exploring this gorgeous region with its diverse scenery. A new day a new adventure – and it is all right here at home.