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Cycling the Paparoa Track

Posted by Jan Roberts on August 17, 2021

We are so lucky to have the most recent Great Walk, The Paparoa Track as part of our big backyard. It is New Zealand’s first purpose built dual purpose hiking and cycling track. Just up the road at Punakaiki – an easy 20 minute drive and we’re parked up at the start of the trail, bikes unloaded and ready to go.

The trail is 55kms in length in total with most riding it from Blackball to Punakaiki. It is a well graded trail for the most part but is Grade 4 as is narrow in parts, has steep and long climbs and descents but the scenery is magnificient.

Continue reading Cycling the Paparoa Track


Checking out the New Kawatiri Coastal Trail

Posted by Jan Roberts on July 17, 2021

The Kawatiri Coastal Cycle trail is a trail currently going from the Buller bridge at Westport to just past Carters Beach. A trust was set up and a passionate group of volunteers applied for funding to make this dream come true. There has been great buy-in by the community and the end result is a proposed trail running from Westport to Charleston, eventually some 55kms long.

Kawatiri coastal trail westport through mural underpass

With a recent trip north to the Buller region we thought it was time we checked out the progress of the cycle trail so far. I say cycle trail but it can be walked (or run!) too. It is classed as grade 2 – a lovely family friendly, even gravel surface initially following the Buller River before it reaches Carters beach and then heads along the coast towards Cape Foulwind.

Kawatiri coastal trail along the river and paddocks westport

Kawatiri coastal trail through the scrub and bush

More of the trail is currently being worked on through to Cape Foulwind and on to Tauranga Bay but as there is machinery and workman still working the trail they haven’t opened that section up yet.

kawatiri coastal trail through the native bush along the boardwalks

Kawatiri coastal trail along the boardwalks through native bush

It has been quite the undertaking and no shortcuts taken in the quality of the trail. Nice and wide making for easy passing for two way “traffic” and the boardwalks through the native bush sections protecting the wetland and waterways are seriously second to none.

kawatiri coastal trail past meeting house and farm paddocks

Kawatiri coastal trail through the farmland

There are information boards and interpretation panels strategically positioned along the way pointing out the fascinating history of early Maori and European settlers and other notes of interest. It is always fascinating stopping and reading these boards and learning more of the history of the region. Through the bush sections there are tags pointing out the various flora and their significance to being found in the area.

kawatiri coastal drive and swingbridge over Martins Creek

Kawatiri coastal trail through carters beach domain

So far the trail is in its infancy with what is known as the PÅ«waha section open Westport to Carters Beach. That alone is a wonderful diverse ecology and views so I can only imagine what the rest of this trail is eventually going to be like.

kawatiri coastal trail along the buller river

Well done to all involved – the spirit of the West Coast is alive and well in Buller, West Coast.

Kawatiri coastal trail Buller bridge Westport

The Kawatiri Coastal Trail needs donations to help support the maintenance and ongoing operations. The Trust welcomes donations to ensure this incredible community asset moves forward, giving enjoyment and health benefits to all that use it.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the West Coast north of Greymouth.  They have a passion for exploring the region and sharing their backyard with visitors to the West Coast.

 


Coal Creek Falls Waterfall Walk in the Rain

Posted by Jan Roberts on June 16, 2021

Singing in the rain just singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling to be getting soaked by the rain……

One of our favourite walks on a rainy day is the Coal Creek Falls Waterfall walk in the little village of Runanga – an easy 5 minute drive from Greymouth or 5 minute drive from us here at Breakers

We’d had a fair bit of overnight rain but this track generally holds up pretty well. Still some damp patches under foot so wanted decent footwear and if you had comfy gumboots well they might even have been a good idea. It is a good rainy day track as you get the protection of the trees although Stephen did comment you get wet no matter what – if not from the rain then the drips off the trees. Nothing that a good rain jacket doesn’t fix though.

The other great thing about rainy day walks are the colours – everything just seems to pop and this track is all about the green, all so vivid you’d think someone had been through with a colouring pen. Forget shades of grey this is shades of green.

There is a mystery waterfall on this track – not the main event and often just a trickle of a waterfall so hardly worth stopping for but today oh my gosh today it was stunning. Definitely the best we’ve ever seen and certainly worthy of a stop and a photo.

Then finally, the main event Coal Creek Falls in all her splendid glory. You could hear her well before you saw her. Feel my power, hear me roar was all that was going through my head.

So if you’re looking for a rainy day walk in the forest then look no further than Coal Creek Falls waterfall walk – Ballance Street, Runanga. Fabulous walk rain or shine.

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


Tairea - A Pounamu Legend

Posted by Jan Roberts on April 22, 2021



The Tairea is one of the famous waka in Ngai Tahu storytelling and recounts a pounamu creation legend.

The Tairea belonged to Tama Ahua, who lived at volcanic Tuhua (Mayor Island) in the Bay of Plenty with his three wives Hine Pounamu, Hine Aotea and Hine Tangiwai.

The wives deserted Tama Ahua and hurried away from Tuhua in Tama Ahua's Tairea waka, now captained by their new suitors. They set sail southward, eventually reaching Rangitoto (D'Urville Island) at the top of the South Island.

When Tama Ahua realised what had happened he set off in hot pursuit, aided by his slave Timuaki, hoping to win back his beloved wives. Using a magic dart to divine the path they had taken, he cast it high into the air until it stopped and pointed to Rangitoto. He immediately set sail but arrived only to find the blackened remains of their fire.

Casting the dart again, it pointed this time to Onetahua (near Motueka), but again he was too late. Once more the dart flew through the air, this time turning and showing the way down the Tai o Poutini, alighting at Pahautane (near Fox River), and then with another throw, at Kotorepi (Nine Mile Creek and beach).

The Tairea, meanwhile, was leaking badly and began to take on water as it passed by here (Punakaiki). The fugitives furiously baled out the leaking canoe but eventually were forced to make landfall at Kotorepi to effect urgent repairs. They then carried on under sail and paddle around to the next bay, Rapahoe, meaning the 'blade of the paddle'.

They pushed on southward aboard the Tairea, with Tama Ahua and Timuaki following days behind in their wake. When the Tairea reached the Makawhio River tragedy befell Hine Aotea, who was drowned and thereby turned to stone.

Onwards again till the waka made Piopiotahi (Milford Sound), where again they were struck by tragedy and Hine Tangiwai drowned and was also turned to stone.

Bereft, they turned the Tairea around and headed north again, until reaching the Arahura River, which they crossed and continued upstream to hide in case of pursuit. On they went till the mountains narrowed the valley and river into a dangerous rapid. Here the Tairea foundered and sank, drowning Hine Pounamu, along with the three captains. All were turned to stone.

Tama Ahua meanwhile, after following his dart to Makawhio, then Piopiotahi and back to Arahura, ventured up the river until he came upon the sail of his old waka clinging to the mountainside Whitiaketera. Looking into the deep pool below the rapids he saw the Tairea and its crew all turned to stone, including Hine Pounamu.

However, a certain karakia gave him the chance to restore his wife to life by making an offering to the atua, of birds cooked in the umu. Heading back downstream to find the birds, Tama Ahua instructed his slave to prepare the umu but the birds emerged overcooked. Worse than that, as Timuaki lifted them off the hot rocks he burnt his fingers and instinctively licked them, thereby immediately breaking the tapu and the karakia.

Distraught at having lost his only chance of reviving Hine Pounamu, Tama Ahua turned his rage on Timuaki, whom he turned into a small hill on the spot. The mountain alongside he named Tuhua as a memorial to his and Hine Pounamu's northern home, and the mountain opposite Whitiaketera he named Tara o Tama. Tama Ahua then returned to the north, leaving behind Hine Pounamu, who became the mother lode of pounamu in the Arahura.
 


Arnold River Dam Walk - Fungi Fishing

Posted by Jan Roberts on April 18, 2021

 

Walks in the bush take on a whole new meaning come Autumn.

Instead of constantly looking up at the canopy (as gorgeous as the canopy is!), our eyes are glued to the forest floor in search of fungi.

Recently we had a lovely guest from the North Island staying with us - Lyn.  One of her lifetime wishes was to find and photograph the blue fungi - found on the New Zealand $50 note (yes go take a look).

We knew the perfect place to recommend and with some free time took the opportunity to go out with her to ensure she found what she was looking for.  Well Lyn was not disappointed.  It was awesome to see the smile break out on her face when she spotted the first blue baby hiding in the undergrowth.  Warning was given - you're about to see them in abundance.  Once you start looking you find them everywhere.  She was spoilt for choice when to came to photographing them.

The Blue fungi are usually the first of the fungi to come out but we did also find the little red, yellow and some beautiful white fungi also

So remember if you’re out and about on a bush walk look down, you never know what is hidden in amongst the ferns and moss and allow more time than you would normally – fungi fishing is addictive……

Jan and Stephen have a passion for the West Coast and enjoy getting out and about exploring.  Check out more of their blog posts for inspiration for your next visit to the West Coast.

 

 


Bruce Bay Wonderland

Posted by Jan Roberts on November 25, 2020

Recently we had the good fortune to spend some time at beautiful Bruce Bay in South Westland staying with our good friends Jacqui & John from Mahitahi Lodge.  A fun few days filled with good food, good company, exploring beautiful beaches and bush walks.

Bruce Bay is in Glacier Country approximately 40 minute drive south of Fox Glacier and an hour north of Haast.  Bruce Bay is exactly that – a bay of the Tasman Sea bordering the main state highway and named one of NZ’s favourite beaches.  It is often photographed as it has a bank of Rimu trees lining the foreshore making a great contrast of sea and forest.  It is also the first place in New Zealand where Maori landed from Hawaii so has some fascinating history.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather.  After initially starting with a little bit of low cloud that soon started to clear with the mountain tops appearing through the clouds and the sun coming out.

Continue reading about Bruce Bay Wonderland

 


Lake Matheson Walk, Fox Glacier, South Westland

Posted by Jan Roberts on November 23, 2020

Lake Matheson is possibly one of the South Island’s if not New Zealand’s premiere short walks and arguably the most photographed. Most photographers go there in the hope of capturing the picture perfect reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps. We commonly call it the elusive million dollar photo. The conditions have to be near perfect often meaning an early start to beat the onset of wind for the day.

The most unfortunate thing with all the hype about the reflection photo is many miss the actual beauty of the walk itself.

Continuing reading about Lake Matheson Walk


Grey District, Heart of the West Coast - 5 short walks

Posted by Jan Roberts on July 04, 2020

The Grey District is known as the Heart of the West Coast.  An easy 2 hour drive south to the glacier region and to the north we have Buller with The Great Coast Road, numerous beaches and gorgeous bush walks.

Possibly the best thing about getting out and doing a bush walk is they are free, all you need is time.  Remember the golden rule though – take only photographs, leave only footprints.

This little blog is to showcase some of our bush walks and we’ve put together a little piece of five of our favourite.  Now these are in no particular order.  Each time we visit these areas we say “this is our favourite walk” – until we visit the next spot again and then  it is our favourite walk. They all have something different to offer be it just beautiful scenery, peace and tranquility, birdlife or history.

So first up:

Brunner Mine Site

Located on the banks of the Grey River accessible from either side – Dobson or Taylorville. Brunner Mine site is a most fascinating piece of not just West Coast history but New Zealand history.  It is the site of NZ’s worst industrial disaster, back in 1886 when 65 men/boys tragically lost their lives in a coal mine explosion.

Learn more about Grey District, Heart of the West Coast - 5 short walks

 


Virtual Mystery Tour West Coast - Grey District, Heart of the West Coast

Posted by Jan Roberts on May 10, 2020

Well it seems an apt time to showcase our own Grey District – heart of the West Coast.  A great place to base yourself to explore north and south – east and west, no not west, you’ll be in Australia.  Come on!

I can vouch for it being a great place to base yourself for exploring the West Coast – well yes mainly because we live here but we do all our exploring from here so just goes to show how easy it is….. no bias in that statement at all.

The Grey District has everything – it is the gateway to the Great Coast Road, named one of the top ten coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet and worth a visit on its own.  

Learn more of the Grey District, Heart of the West Coast

 


Virtual Mystery Tour West Coast - Murchison Reefton Loop

Posted by Jan Roberts on May 03, 2020

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.

Continue reading our Virtual Mystery Tour West Coast - Murchison Reefton Loop