Beach Meander – Great Coast Road

Love meandering along the beach and with the Great Coast Road at our doorstep, we have plenty of beaches to choose from.


Latest little meander was around the 14 mile beach – aptly named as it is around 14 miles from Greymouth.  It actually harks back to the gold mining days of the late 1800s – 14 clicks from nearest town to lodge your gold claim – or so I’m told.  Sounds good eh.

We had a picture perfect afternoon – yep another one.  Seem to get quite a few of them really – especially given the ratty forecasts and despite the West Coast’s reputation.  We like to say it is just because non-coasters are jealous of where we live – and hey look at the photos – proof is in the pudding so to speak.


The colours in the sky are a palette of pastel – pale pink and blue hues and wispy clouds make for a great skyline.


The views to the south – the expanse of the Southern Alps and Mt Cook just showing her face in the far foreground are a sight we never tire of.  I think even the boys enjoy it – I’m sure they know just how lucky they are living in this little slice of paradise……


We sure do.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  Taking a drive it is easy to see why it was named one of the top ten coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet.  No bias here.

Posted in beaches, Dalmatian, dogs, German Shorthaired Pointer, Nature, NZ flora and fauna, outdoors, photography | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

National Dog Day

So apparently today is National Dog Day.  Don’t know if just New Zealand but given saw posting on Facebook from Australia – perhaps it is the Southern Hemisphere.

Nico in all his beauty

Ziggy giving us the eye


No matter where you are though let’s give a shout out to all the dogs.

Ziggy with goofball face and Nico

Here’s our boys – doing what they do best…… one in particular – the goof-ball…….

Ziggy and Nico looking happy after a run on the beach

Happy Dog’s Day everyone!

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  Together with their dogs Nico and Ziggy they enjoy getting out and about and exploring the region.  The boys especially love to run on the beach and explore the bush.

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Nine Mile Valley’s Hidden Coal History

Nine Mile Valley coal mine relics

nine mile valley coal mine entrance

There’s gold in them there hills – black gold!

Nine Mile valley coal mines

Stephen had the pleasure of playing tour guide recently and taking a photographic artist into the hills behind Breakers to explore some of the fascinating coal mining history hidden away in the forest.

capturing the history nine mile valley

Chris Corson Scott is an artist based in Auckland and currently working on a project involving NZ history.  We met Chris and his partner Amanda on a recent walk up the 10 mile valley – turns out they found the 10 mile valley and its history thanks to our blog – now that puts a smile on my face.

Nine Mile Valley coal relics

There is much history in the Nine Mile Valley and loads of relics to photograph.  To top it off it would have to boast some of the most stunning West Coast native bush (yeah ok NZ native bush but we have the best here on the West….. no bias).

coal mine relics nine mile valley

The sense of history oozes out from all the various relics and mine entrances – trying their best to tell their own story.

nine mile valley coal mine relics and creek

The Nine Mile valley is also a great example of nature reigning supreme with the bush slowly but surely reclaiming her space.

coal mine relics in the bush nine mile valley

Mining relics Nine Mile Valley

So love having the wonder of the Nine Mile Valley right at our doorstep – one minute we’re by the seaside with the pounding surf and the next we’re immersed in lush green forest and discovering some of the secrets of our heritage. That’s the West Coast for you.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about exploring the region and sharing their discoveries for others to enjoy.

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West Coast Wilderness Trail – Camerons to Kapitea Reservoir

Oh it feels good to be back on the bike.  We’re not long back from an overseas holiday and while we did take our bikes with us we didn’t do a whole lot of biking – four days in total over three weeks. What we did do was a lot of walking, and feeling like we’d built up a good fitness base we wanted to continue on that theme now that we’re home.

biking in the forest west coast wilderness trailWell how is it, considering we exercised at least 3 hours EVERY DAY for three weeks, now we’re home we don’t feel any fitter.  We thought we’d get out on our bikes and the ride would be a breeze – let me tell you now Categorically NOPE.

biking kumara swingbridge west coast wilderness trail

In fairness the thing with this ride is it is actually a gentle incline the entire way from Camerons just north of Greymouth to the Kapitea Reservoir in behind Kumara.  Also and this one is important – we rode like cut cats.  Seriously I had to say to Stephen can we button back a bit on the pace.  He of course said he was just trying to keep up with me which was so incorrect cos I was just trying to keep up with him……..

biking along kumara tramline in the forest west coast wilderness trailMoaning aside this ride is gorgeous.  Crossing the clip-on attached to the Taramakau road/rail bridge reminded me of our ride across the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco – ok so maybe couple of slight differences – not as high, not as long and nowhere near as many people to negotiate with on the way across (make that none!).

biking West Coast Wilderness TrailThe Kumara tram-line was so green – I know we have lots of green but I’d almost…. almost forgotten just how green everything is here – all shades of green in all directions.  Just beautiful.

biking along West Coast wilderness trail

It was generally quite an overcast day making the skies a bit wishy/washy but the views of the snow-capped mountains and reflections in the Kapitea Reservoir were still spectacular.

biking kumara tramline west coast wilderness trail

Made the mistake of eating far too much for lunch at the Theatre Royal Hotel – but it was delicious.  That’s my excuse for feeling a bit sluggish on the ride back to town.  All in all though it was nice to be back on the West Coast Wilderness Trail – it’s a great asset for the district and a great way to see some diverse West Coast scenery.

biking out of kumara west coast wilderness trail

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and exploring the area.


Posted in cycling, Mountain biking New Zealand, Nature, NZ history, outdoors, photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lake Mahinapua by Star Light

Would you like to swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar…..

Lake Mahinapua in the star light

oh Frank I love you serenading me on this beautiful star lit night.

Lake Mahinapua with the stars

We have been blessed with some stunning winter days of late – clear sunny skies meaning fabulous star lit skies come evening.

Lake Mahinapua star lit skies

Making the most of the perfect conditions we took a drive south of Hokitika to the beautiful Lake Mahinapua to check out the skies.

Lake Mahinapua by the star lit skies

With snow-capped mountains and surrounded by native bush, Lake Mahinapua was an ideal place to just relax and make the most of night sky.

Lake Mahinapua in the stars

Playing the perfect model (as always I might add!) there was one final photo shoot before it was time to head home for the evening.  Thanks Lake Mahinapua – it was a pleasure swinging on your stars and now I’m taking moonbeams home in a jar – rather that than be a mule…….  See you again soon.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about and making the most of this beautiful region they are lucky enough to call home.

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Lake Mahinapua Sunset Reflections

On a recent drive back from Franz Josef Stephen suggested calling into Lake Mahinapua just south of Hokitika.  It isn’t somewhere we visit often as not dog friendly and well it isn’t often the boys aren’t with us.  Not this time though – we’d just dropped them at their God Parents in Franz Josef for their annual holiday.

Lake Mahinapua reflections

It had been a typical winter’s day on the West Coast – lots of blue skies and sunshine and our stop at the lake was timed just on sunset.

lake mahinapua mountain reflections

With not a breath of wind the reflections were outstanding. Just a light dusting on the mountain tops emitting a pretty pink hue and reflecting over the native bush and into the lake – pure magic.

lake mahinapua reflections on sunset

lake mahinapua reflections of sunset

It was lovely to sit out on the wharf and enjoy the peace and tranquility – reflect on the reflections……

lake mahinapua reflectings

A young couple were arriving just as we were leaving and it was nice to see them sitting there and soaking up Mother’s Natures gift.  A wonderful memory of their holiday to New Zealand and their visit to the wonderful West Coast one winters evening.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about and exploring the many wonders that help make up this beautiful region they are lucky enough to call home.

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Exploring the Blackball Coal Mine and Kings Knob Walk

Recently we headed to Blackball  to explore some of their well hidden history all within walking distance of the “local”.  We’d already done the River Gorge trail (see blog) and continued on a little further down the road to explore the original Blackball mine site.

blackball bathhouse site from first mine

First up is the old bathhouse sitting on the roadside.  Now just the concrete shell of what was once a huge complex and stated as a requirement by the union of the day.  The information board along side tells us the story of how rewarding a hot shower was after a hard day’s work down in the mine and children were sent to the bathhouse for their weekly clean – my how things have changed!

blackball mine site and brick chimney stack

From the roadside it is deceptive as to what is hidden further in from the huge brick chimney stack towering up from the bedrock.

historic blackball mine site

blackball original mine site fan house and fan

The Blackball Coal Mine was in fact one of the West Coast’s major producers in its day so there is much history to see from the mine entrance and return airway, fan-house remnants (and this thing is huge!), remains of an old dam and drainage lines.  The mine was in operation from 1890 through to its final closure in 1964 in some form or another.

blackball kings knob hike

Leading off from the mine site there is a basic trail heading into the mountains.  Known locally as Kings Knob track, the trail follows a cutting through the hillside and heads deep into the bush.  It is amazing how quickly you are surrounded by the native bush.  There is a small creek burbling along side and the bird song is gorgeous.  Why wouldn’t they be happy in these surroundings.

blackball forest walk kings knob

Following the trail we head up the fern and tree-clad hillside – surrounded by….. yes you guessed it a symphony of greenery.  It is steep in some places – basically clambering up tree roots.

blackball views of township

It is so worth the effort though as you pop out of the trees into a clearing – complete with picnic table to take in the surrounding views of the Grey Valley and over the Blackball township.

formally the blackball hilton

We take a few minutes to soak it all in and catch our breath before carefully negotiating our way down the other side – back into town.  Time for lunch and Formerly the Blackball Hilton is calling our name.  A great place to start and finish your Blackball explorations – with a delicious venison pie and pint of their best.

Now time to find the old gold mining tunnels that go beneath the township – where did that map have them starting from…….. so much history, so little time……

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about exploring and discovering and learning the history of this wonderful region – West Coast of the Southern Alps.

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