On the road again, I can’t wait to get on the road again. Seriously cannot wait to get on the road again, but until we can go further afield ourselves we’ll head out on another virtual tour. This time a gorgeous loop we did last Winter.
First up to Reefton – probably our favourite little West Coast town. If you’re a long time follower of our blog you’ll know I’ve sung Reefton’s praises on many an occasion. This time we were just passing through, then through the gorgeous Rahau Saddle, one of my favourite drives as it is cut through Victoria forest and is always so lush and green – I digress, on to Springs Junction to head north through the Maruia Valley in search of Maruia Falls.
Now for all the exploring we’ve done on the West Coast we had never been through the Maruia Valley so we were excited to say the least to be covering some new ground. mmmm thick fog from Greymouth to Reefton. It did start to clear through Rahau Saddle so our stop at Inangahua Swingbridge picnic area gave us hope. Once we got to Springs Junction though we were back into the thick fog for the drive through the Maruia Valley. Oh dear were we going to see anything. To be fair it was actually pretty cool on occasions and made the surrounds all the more atmospheric.
Fear not with the fog though for as the morning progressed so did the disappearance of the fog slowly revealing the promise of blue skies.
By the time we reached our first sightseeing stop, Maruia Falls – and the main reason for this road trip, the fog had all but lifted and we could see the surrounding mountain tops. Whew – imagine getting all this way and not being able to see anything! We need not worry, the waterfall was mind blowing and sparkling in the sunlight. Why had we never been here before, to say it is gorgeous is an understatement.
Bit of history for you…. the Maruia Falls were created by the 1929 Murchison earthquake – not through land uplift as many earthquakes/waterfalls but through a landslide further up the valley diverting the course of the river and once the river had eroded the gravels the bank became the Maruia Falls. Now your knowledge bank is enriched for the better…….
Back on the road again and after a quick detour into Murchison itself – mainly a lunch stop and it was worth it alone. Tutaki Bakery!!!! Oh My Gosh!!! YUM – yes I’ve put that in capitals and am shouting it YUM. If you’re passing through then Tutaki Bakery is a must stop – seriously the best pies and beautiful breads and there may be a sweet treat or two on offer too, I personally couldn’t comment. Ha!
Ok, so with appetites satiated time to hit the road again – this is a loop roadie remember so now down through the beautiful Upper Buller Gorge with a stop to visit the historic Lyell Cemetery. We have driven past here so many times that we thought this was as good of an opportunity as any to stop and have a wander. Parking at the Lyell camping ground (also parking area for the start/finish of Old Ghost Road hiking//biking trail) there is a trail that heads up into the forest. The trail meanders through dense native bush for about 10 minutes and then in the rocky bank is this gorgeous little cemetery. The last internment was in 1900 – presumably stopped due to the steep and rocky terrain.
On the road again – I can’t wait to get on the road again, just in case you’d managed to get that tune out of your head….. onwards again heading back to Reefton and what a contrast from our travels as we passed through in the morning. The town and surrounds are now bathed in glorious sunshine with the Inangahua River glistening in the sunlight.
One more stop before the final leg to home and that is the historic church on the outskirts of Ikamatua, the St Patricks catholic church. One of our favourite churches to photograph.
Well there you go, our loop road trip. Was a full day out – we were well exhausted by the time we got home but thoroughly loved every minute of it and it has been great reliving the drive through writing this blog so I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey with me. Look forward to “seeing” you all again soon for more West Coast discoveries.
Thanks as always to our talented photographer Shakey Finger Photography – Stephen Roberts.
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They love the West Coast and love to get out and about and explore this beautiful region they are lucky enough to call home.