Mountain Magic Atop Mt George

Whenever we do this hike there are two songs that jump straight into my head

hiking the rockface to top of Mt George with sea viewsKnocking on heavens door and sitting on top of the world.

enjoying the views Mt Geoge to Motukeikei Rocks and Tasman SeaSeriously the views from Mt George are boarding on ridiculous.  With some light whispering clouds off on the horizon we can see in all directions.  Friends asked if we could see Australia from up there – if it wasn’t for the haze on the horizon I’d just about say yes – ok so it is a little further away than that but seriously.  I could have sat here all day and soaked it up.

admiring the views from Mt George hike out to Tasman Sea I have to admit there was a lot of huffing and puffing on this expedition – mmm so expedition might be pushing it, but given my current lack of fitness it felt like an expedition.  Turned out we were hiking quite quickly – thank you husband for those kind words of encouragement……

descending the rockface of Mt George with sea viewsThe good thing about hiking with my lovely hubby (obviously there are many good things but this one is important!) is that it involves lots of photo stops.  Well I’d like to think that is the reason we are stopping so often.  Actually it is imperative you stop on the way up to look back and capture the views.  Well not even look back – look all around – we are completely surrounded by ridiculous views.

great coast road views from mt georgeStephen is trying out a new camera lens and it is great as we can zoom in and really capture the essence of the hike for you all to see with us.  Perhaps we should approach the camper van company on this one – they could use it for their marketing. Mt cook views from Mt GeorgeThe Great Coast Road has been named one of the top ten coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet.  When you’re climbing Mt George it is not hard to see why, glorious coastline on one side, rugged native bush on the other and then there are those views to Mt Cook.   Insane on a day like today.  Actually it is a spectacular drive no matter what the weather but sitting atop Mt George in the sunshine with little or no wind we really do feel like we’re sitting on top of the world and knocking on heavens door.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about exploring the many wonders of the West Coast and sharing their adventures and discoveries.

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Carters Beach to Cape Foulwind – Westport

Hello blogging my old friend, I’ve come back to write again,

Share the story of our adventures, the sights we see – the discoveries.

Because sharing, enables you to enjoy the adventure too

That’s why we’re here, so here’s to the end

of the sound of silence……..

Jan and the dogs enjoying the views and sunshine Carters Beach Westport

Hopefully you all figured where I was heading with that and got the tune going in your head thanks to Simon and Garfunkel.  My blogging has been very remiss of late and I could bore you with the excuses but instead I’ll share  one of our recent walks, the stunning Carters Beach.

Carters Beach is just on the outskirts of Westport.  Little seaside suburb with possibly the most under-rated beach in New Zealand.  Miles and miles of sandy beach practically for as far as the eye can see.  We had a lovely low tide so decided to walk south towards Cape Foulwind.

Carters beach with Holcim Cement works in the background

The now disused Holcim Cement works factory loomed in the distance and we knew the cliffs of Cape Foulwind were just beyond.

We had a near perfect summer’s day – which like my blogging had been very lacking this summer.  There was no excuse not to go for a nice long walk.  Nice long walk is exactly what it is.  Not sure on the distance but we’re guessing it was about 10kms each way.

Boys enjoying a walk along Carters Beach, Westport

This was one flat sandy beach that seemed like it just went on and on.  The boys were loving it, flitting along the edge of the water line helping keep themselves cool.  I think just like us they enjoyed the feel of the sand under their paws rather than the usual stoney beaches from home.

Rocks and cliffs Cape Foulwind end Carters Beach Westport

We walked and walked and walked until finally we reached the Cape Foulwind end and our flat sandy beach was drawfed by towering cliffs and round boulders covered in carpets of green moss scattering the shoreline.

Jan and the dogs enjoying lunch on a log Carters Beach Westport

As much as we would have liked to have continued we still had to walk all the way back.  Thankfully we had packed a lunch and after a quick share….. yes I did share, we made our way back to where it all began.

Ziggy running along sand at Carters Beach Westport

Stephen treated himself to a quick dip in the sea and then the boys were racing to see who would get back to the car first – no guessing to who had the most energy, despite just having walked (and run) for three hours straight.  I can categorically confirm we all slept like babies.

If you’re ever up Westport way – even just passing through, make sure you stop and check out Carters Beach – it is nothing short of beautiful.

We’re moving our blog soon under a new format direct to our website and via MailChimp.  Hope you’ll all come along for ride.  Watch this space, more info to follow – hopefully soon.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They love nothing more than getting out and exploring this beautiful region they are lucky enough to call home.

Posted in beaches, Dalmatian, dogs, German Shorthaired Pointer, Nature, outdoors, photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

West Coast Wilderness Trail – Greymouth to Taramakau River

Possibly one of the greatest recent additions and assets for Greymouth and the Grey District would have to be the West Coast Wilderness Trail.  The trail starts in Greymouth and goes right through to Ross in the south – some 136odd kms.


An easy day trip is Greymouth through to the road/rail bridge at Taramakau River,  our very own little “golden gate” bridge.  Not quite the same grandeur but we love it just the same and it is as iconic to this area as the Golden Gate bridge is to San Francisco.

Part of me had been dreading getting back on the bike – it had been about 5 weeks since my last outing and the longer I left it – well you know how it goes.  Anyway start to the day was stunning – there was heavy rain overnight and it was supposed to continue for at least another day but, unusually the weatherman got the forecast for us wrong (unusually yeah right!) and I said to Stephen let’s go for a ride – bike from Greymouth out to the bridge and back and get some photos.  He said sure thing, so we loaded up and headed into town.


The trail starts opposite the I-Site on the floodwall overlooking the Grey River.  Mawhera is the original name of the Grey River – our Maori name meaning bright running waters and wide open river mouth.  It was changed to Grey River and the town to Greymouth in honor of Sir George Grey then Governor of New Zealand in the 1800s.  Little history lesson there for you – being called Greymouth has NOTHING to do with the weather……


The trail follows the river along the floodwall, past the beautiful Miners memorial in commemoration of the many miners that have lost their lives on the West Coast.



Continuing on we ride through the fisherman’s wharf, passing the lineup of fishing boats settled in safely to wait out the last of the stormy weather, and carry on along the lagoon edge to meet the sea.



We now follow the coast line for about 9kms, meandering along behind the sand dunes.  You can hear the roar of the sea – it was nearly high tide with a good swell so although we couldn’t always see the sea, we could certainly always hear it.



This section – right through to Paroa is ever-changing, skirting not just the sea edge but also the little subdivisions of Greymouth so you get a real birds-eye look at just how pretty the town is and the facilities available to the community – playgrounds, rugby fields etc – not to mention our huge airport…… – that’s the runway I’m biking beside lol.


Did I mention Greymouth is right by the sea!  How’s this for a view.  We had a good day but on a super clear day you can see the expanse of the Southern Alps, all the way down including Aoraki Mt Cook and Mt Tasman.


Once we reach Paroa the trail moves away from the sea and edges between the main highway and the Saltwater Lagoon and New River on the other side.  It passes through a couple of native bush sections and the bird song is almost as loud as the roaring sea was.  I guess after the rain there are lots of worms and insects for the birds to feed on – that and all the new spring growth on the trees and flowers and with the sun shining – yep they had plenty of reasons to be chirping away.


Eventually we make it to the bridge – standing proud over the Taramakau River.  We take a minute to have a nibble and soak up the views before it is time to turn around and head back to town. All in all a great couple of hours on the bike – 36 kms in all so not a bad effort and my legs aren’t complaining either….. yet…… probably nothing that a big slab of chocolate cake or the such like wouldn’t fix……

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out walking and biking and seeing the sights of the Grey District.




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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