Well it has been some time since we walked the Point Elizabeth walkway – why? – well even we can’t answer for sure why we haven’t done this track more often considering it is practically at our back door.
We could probably argue – justify or whatever excuse terminology we’d like to use – the fur kids. They’re not allowed on this trail so it just normally doesn’t feature in our “what shall we do today” conversation. For whatever reason Stephen suggested it and I wasn’t going to say no. Got the kids down to the beach first thing for a nice beach walk and then we filled our water bottles and grabbed a snack and we were off.
Easy 2 minute drive down the road (I know…. told you was practically at our back door!) and we’re parked up ready to go. The track starts at Rapahoe with views overlooking the Rapahoe beach before it winds its up the hillside and into the native bush of the Rapahoe Scenic Reserve.
I’d forgotten just how beautiful this walk is – the native bush is just stunning, it is a subtropical forest with oodles of nikau palms and Mamaku (black tree fern) intertwined with supple jack vines and Kiekie. There are also large podocarps like Rimu, Kahikatea and Miro along with epiphytic northern rata adding a splash of crimson during summer a nature lovers wet dream. For us today we had the native Clementis high up in the tree line adding a gorgeous tinge of white amongst the green.
The trail meanders around pretty near the cliff tops but you’d never know as you’re in standard dense NZ native forest – the very reason we’re taught from an early age not to leave the track or if you do to only go 1 metre and leave your pack or bag on the trail. So easy to loose yourself in NZ forests if you leave the trail. Not an issue for us though – we’re staying on track. The sun is shining through the tops of the giant fern trees and Nikau Palm trees. Can’t be too google eyed – have to remember to look where we’re going.
The track is initially following an old water race built by 19th century miners to sluice their gold claims. The trail has been altered a bit since then and you can see some of the old trail at the creek crossings go further back into the bush and coming out again the other side of the creek.
After about 30 minutes we come out of the dense tree line to the cliff tops and the Point Elizabeth lookout point affording views to the north and the south. South towards the glacier region and you can see the expanse of the Southern Alps. Bit of cloud over the mountains today so can’t quite make out Mt Cook and Mt Tasman but on a good day they loom proudly at the end of the line up of the Southern Alps. To the north you can see the expanse of the Rapahoe beach right through to the 8 mile and even the Motukiekie rock formations way off in the distance. Some serious nature’s eye candy.
After a quick bite to eat, soon enough we have to turn back and head for home. Seriously, there are times we just have to pinch ourselves at the beauty of this untamed nature wilderness that is our backyard we are lucky enough to call home.
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoy getting out and about and exploring and sharing the beauty that is the West Coast of the Southern Alps.