March 9 Creek Walks (Day 164)

A nice sunny day lay ahead of us so we decided to drive as far north as we can, until the road ends and one of the Great Walks of New Zealand begins (or ends). We packed a lunch and started north through Westport where we picked up some potato and pasta salads and took a short detour into gold and coal mining territory to explore some walks there. The first stop was Chasm Creek Walkway, along Chasm Creek. It is the bed of a railway that serviced the mines in the area in the late 1800’s. A nice wide track!

The track led to a short tunnel coated with moss and a curtain of water droplets falling down the entrance.

The tunnel opened to a bridge that is under construction so the walk ended there, just one mile round trip, but a few glimpses of the river that the creek flows into.

We drove further along the rural road to the next walk, Charming Creek Walkway, again a walk along an old railway bed that until 1958 serviced a coal mine.

Charming Creek lived up to it’s name, flowing through the rain forest past old mining equipment, rusting in the bush.

Reader boards describing the mining equipment and the infrastructure gave lots of information. The train that took the coal from the mine to the processing and shipping area back in the day was housed in a shed, no longer in use.

We walked along the creek for a short way, then returned to the parking area and pulled the little grill out and grilled some sausages to enjoy with our salads! We packed up an continued up the road along the coast to our final destination.

We stopped briefly at a huge empty beach. There are no signs to dissuade you from swimming, but it’s common knowledge that swimming just about anywhere on the west coast is extremely dangerous! Rip tides, undertows, cold water, huge waves, maybe sharks? We don’t even dip our toes in the water!

As we approached Karamea, the last town before the end of the road we passed farm paddocks on the flat land along the coast, carved from the native forest. These Nikau palms were spared the axe and stand at the edge of the forest.

The palm are usually surrounded by dense bush, they really stand out here!

We finally reached the campground at the end of the road and looked around.

The Heaphy Track crosses the northwest corner of the South Island and follows ancient Maori trails that led to the Pounamu (Greenstone) gathering areas on the west coast.

We made it back home in 2.5 hours to enjoy a nice sunset!

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