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Author Archives: Jan Roberts

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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Virtual Mystery Tour West Coast - Oparara Basin, West Coast

Posted by Jan Roberts on April 27, 2020

I know I haven’t been around much in the blogging world of late – for some time actually.  Thought given the turmoils of the world lately it was a good time to pop back in and say hi.  Going to share our love of the West Coast of New Zealand and take you all on a virtual tour from the top to the bottom – West Coast, Best Coast of New Zealand.  Hope you enjoy the ride.

Oparara Basin is at the top end of the West Coast – end of the road so to speak or better said the beginning……  It is full of natural wonderment and great world class caving systems including Honeycomb Caves – only accessible to the general public with a registered guide.

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Nine Mile Creek Waterfall

Posted by Jan Roberts on July 23, 2019

Breakers Boutique Accommodation has the good fortune of being truly beachfront.  This however is only one of our many natural attractions.  When checking in our guests we show our guests where the beach access is and point out it is a rugged West Coast beach with wonderful coloured stones and strewn with driftwood.  Not only that though, running down the side of the property is a waterfall - our very own (well not really our own but seems like it given our small population base :-)  ).  Often on mention of the waterfall our guests eyes light up - there is just something about waterfalls eh.

With much rain of late the waterfall has been very impressive with huge flow and incredible noise.

Take a listen for yourselves, although on this occasion I think the sound of the gushing water may be drowned out by something else dear to our hearts here at Breakers...... do you know what it is?

Breakers Waterfall in Flood

 

 


Sharing our Backyard - 10 mile Valley

Posted by Jan Roberts on January 18, 2019

One of the little pleasures of running Breakers Boutique Accommodation is meeting people from all over the world and having the opportunity of sharing our little slice of paradise and our backyard.

Lately we had a lovely couple from Sweden, Lena and Lars staying four nights.  Staying longer than one night gives us the chance to showcase more of the region and get a little off the beaten "touristy" track - as lovely as some of those spots are.

A personal favourite of ours to take some time out is up 10 mile valley.  It seemed the perfect place to share with Lena and Lars for an afternoon outing.

The 10 mile valley is a gorgeous valley of contrasts and diversity with towering cliffs, lush green vegetation and the meandering creek.  The first section of the trail gently winds it way up the valley following the creek before it then heads sharply up hill giving outstanding views back down the valley below.

The 10 mile valley is not only stunning scenery but packed with coal mining history as well.  Lately Stephen has been doing some off track exploring and discovered more of the mining history including long abandoned mine entrances and old rail-line relics.  It is fun to be able to share some of the history of the area with our guests first hand and it gave Lena and Lars a real sense of the history that the West Coast was founded on.

To top off the afternoon Lena and Stephen - and their trusty guide Ansel had a lovely swim in the refreshing water of the creek.  A great way to end their explorations up the 10 mile valley. Thanks Lena and Lars for giving us the opportunity of sharing this unique part of backyard with you.


Look After our Place - Visit the Kiwi Way

Posted by Jan Roberts on December 18, 2018

With the busy summer season officially upon us I thought I'd share this useful guide and video from the Department of Conservation

Visit the Kiwi Way - Know Before you Go

In Aotearoa New Zealand we have a way we like to do things. We call it the Kiwi way.

Whether you’re a local, or you’re here on holiday, we all have a shared responsibility to look after this awesome place. From the mountains to the sea, and all places in between, we care for taonga no matter its size.

Check out this useful guide from Department of Conservation

https://www.doc.govt.nz/visit-the-kiwi-way/


Woods Creek Track, Greymouth - A lesson in History

Posted by Jan Roberts on November 04, 2018

Hard to beat a walk in the woods and when it is steeped in history it adds a whole new dimension.

Woods Creek Track at Dunganville in the back of Greymouth oozes history – gold mining history complete with tailrace and tunnel workings.  Worked by the Chinese in the late 1800s it is a great showcase of the power of man verses technology.  Back then they didn’t have diggers, loaders or any of today’s modern mining machinery.  It was all about grit, determination and hardwork.

Walking along the well maintained DOC track, following the tailrace you have the fruits of the miners labour with the stacked up rocks that they dug out.  I don’t think I could lift one of the these rocks let alone rock on rock on rock for hours on end like they did.

Woods Creek track is a loop track – an easy trail just over 1km long weaving its way through some stunning native bush following the tailraces and dams created by the miners.

You are never far from the creek that was used for the mining slicing – redirecting the water flow when needed – a marvel of man-made creation and such an important part of our history.

There are numerous stairways that lead you up and down and through the forest both regenerating and virgin native forest.  There is plenty of birdsong and the size of the fern trees have to be seen to be believed.

The remnants of tunnels give you a great insight to the working life of the miner of the day.  Their diligence and skill and ability to leave something almost untouched by nature in time that follows.  You can see the niches in the rock wall along the way where they sat their candles for lighting.  Today we have the aid of our flashlights and when turned off you can sit and watch the glowworms light the rock ceiling.  Thankfully we didn’t come across any cave wetas – well not that I know of anyway…….

As with most DOC tracks there are some great information boards as you meander around the track giving you some of the history and explaining the procedures the miners used and their reasonings behind it.

Woods Creek track would have to be one of the best examples on the West Coast incorporating a stunning bush walk with some fascinating mining history and if you ever have a chance I highly recommend adding it to your list of “must dos”. For directions check out the DOC website.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They love to get out and about exploring the many wonders of the West Coast.