Come share our slice of paradise

Author Archives: Jan Roberts

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.


Auckland Highlights

Posted by Jan Roberts on August 05, 2018

Auckland Highlights

Auckland is the main gateway to NZ and the start of many of our guests holiday. It is New Zealand’s largest city and known as the City of Sails.

We’ve just had a few days visiting the big smoke for business and while for the most part were busy with our appointments we did take the opportunity to have a bit of a look around the city centre. It is great for people watching and for architecture. We are spoilt with our landscape and scenery at our back door but we did really enjoy the contrast of the city and all the buildings – was great for photography with the different lines and light.

Our accommodation was in Parnell (Quality Inn Parnell) perched on the hillside and affording fabulous views out over the city and harbour. Some friends who live in Auckland said it is also known as the City of Light and thanks to the views from our hotel room we soon discovered why. Many of the buildings light up at night in vibrant colours – even the odd crane or two.

Auckland often gets a bad rap for the traffic but at the end of the day it is a major city with a large population and with that you are always going to have traffic issues. We negated the traffic issues for the most part by ensuring our appointments were outside of peak traffic times – worked a treat although I’d be lying if I said we still weren’t a little anxious that we might not make our appointments on time but I think that was possibly more a matter of finding our way – which Rosanne (our GPS unit) ensured wasn’t a problem at all (well for the most part…..).

There are lots of things to see and do when visiting Auckland and with our limited free time we just took in a couple of highlights. The Viaduct and Wynyard Precinct is a great place to get a real feel for downtown Auckland and the harbour. It is very pedestrian friendly with a huge array of cafes, restaurants and bars making it a great place to visit during the day and in the evening. It is a great opportunity to check out the habour scene and views.  We even had a huge and I mean huge cruise ship in – saw it come in to dock from our hotel room. For us, we also enjoyed our evening walks down Parnell Road to find somewhere for dinner. There were plenty of choices from Indian, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, burger bars and steak house – something for everyone.

Our final day we spent the morning at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. What a wonderful asset for the city – and for New Zealand. A couple of hours wasn’t enough to do it justice so we only really just touched the surface. There was a Butterfly Exhibition on which was popular with the children and school holidays but for us it was the War memorabilia and the Pacific Arts and Culture that featured as our highlight. Highly recommend any visitor to Auckland dedicate a few hours to checking out this museum – and the views and spectacular location are an added bonus.

All too soon it was time to put Rosanne back into action and make our way out to the airport to catch our flights back home. But one final mention before signing off would have to be the friendliness of the people. Stephen and I both mentioned on numerous occasions that we could see why it was voted one of the friendliest cities in the world (after scoffing at that fact when we first saw it). We had cars stop to let us cross the road, drivers let us out of tricky intersections, into or out of parks, change lanes unexpectantly (remember country folk in the city…..) and people walking down the street say hello. It was very refreshing and left us feeling really good about our visit to the city – so thank you Auckland and thank you Aucklanders.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They are true Kiwis and love the region they live and enjoy visiting other areas.

 


A Visit to Invercargill - Heartland New Zealand

Posted by Jan Roberts on November 10, 2017

I’m a Southland girl through and through – originally from Invercargill in the deep south of New Zealand.  NZ’s southern most city and the largest town in Southland. We do our best to get back down to Invercargill at least once a year to visit with friends and family.  In typical Jan and Stephen fashion though we can’t go anywhere without exploring – must be in our DNA.  I could go through and give a blow-by-blow of our recent visit down south but it would be pages long and for those of you with short attention spans like myself – well no more needs to be said.  Soooooo……. this is my Must Dos – in no particular order.

A Drive Through Coastal Western Southland

For an easy day trip follow the Southern Scenic Route signs on State Highway 99 out through Riverton to Orepuki (you can go further but that was as far as we went on our day trip).  This is the coastal route heading towards Fiordland – Manapouri and Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Riverton is the main coastal town on the Southern Scenic Route heading North West.  It is a popular seaside holiday resort and is known as the “Riviera of the South”.  It was one of the earliest European settlements in NZ so steeped in rich history in an idyllic coastal setting.

Call in at Cosy Nook, a cute little seaside hamlet set in a rocky cove with a sprinkling of fishing boats and holiday homes (known as cribs).  I’m not sure if the fishing boats are still used or they just dream of days gone by.   In its hey day there were 12 fishing boats based here that fished Foveaux Straight.  It is truly an idyllic looking location.

Onwards to Gemstone Beach just beyond the little village of Orepuki.  We were expecting a very stony beach – similar to what we have at home but it was very sandy.  It may be we had the wrong tide – was pretty much high tide on our visit so we’ll just have to come back to do some foraging for gemstones.

Back to Orepuki and the Orepuki Beach Cafe for our lunch stop.  What a little gem of a place – highly recommend for lunch or dinner, well worth the drive alone.

Then we started the drive back to Invercargill first calling in at Monkey Island.  The Island itself is just off the bay and can only be reached at low tide. There is an impressive stairway leading to the top of the small island and giving great views in all directions. Again so much history here – who’d have thought that in the late 1860s it was a town with numerous houses, three stores, a hotel and a butcher’s shop!  Now it is more of a secret hideaway with camping and picnic area.  Ok so guess with camping options it isn’t so secret but we pretty much had it to ourselves.  We didn’t stop for long – with the tide practically right in there wasn’t much beach to take advantage of.  As Arnie says so well in Terminator “we’ll be back”.

We did a quick drive through Colac Bay but time was against us so we didn’t linger.

Day Trip Catlins – Waipapa Point and Curio Bay

Another easy day trip from Invercargill is the Southern Scenic route towards Dunedin.  First up Waipapa Point and Lighthouse. You often get to see sea lions lazing in the sand.  The power of the surf though coming in and pounding off the rocks is a sight to behold.  After a compulsory photo at the foot of the lighthouse we headed off towards Curio Bay.

We had our timing perfect as it turned out, completely a fluke but the tide was still out enough that we could actually see the petrified forest in the rock formations.  Also there were the most amazing colours in among the rocks.  Mum and my sister Sally spent ages fossicking in the rocks for beautiful colourful tiny little shells.  You could lose so much time just here – but remember to look up now and again and watch for the incoming tide!  Evenings you might be lucky enough to see some Yellow Eyed Penguins but remember to stay a respectful distance from them so as not to disturb them.

Bluff

We love Bluff.  It is the southern most port town in NZ and home of the famous Bluff oyster.  A popular stop for visitors is Stirling Point with its famous signpost and some nice walking tracks.  Another must do is Bluff Hill.  If you’ve got a good day the views here are hard to beat – you can even see Stewart Island.

We also love Bluff for the mountain bike trails.  A nice little network in the back of town up on the hillside.  That does mean climbing but you are rewarded with the downhill to get back to your car.  Also worth a visit is the Bluff cemetery.  Sitting high on the hillside again the views are to – well to die for!  I know, sorry about that…….

Petrol Head Heaven

New to Invercargill and two must dos are Bill Richardson Transport World and Motorcycle Mecca.  Even if you’re not a petrol-head these museums are fantastic.  You do need to dedicate quite a bit of time to these – I’d suggest a full morning for each or full afternoon.  You may even end up going back again for another look – there is so much to take in.  Each museum has a great cafe too – especially Transport World, can highly recommend their mushrooms on toast.  Sounds simple but oh la la – delicious!

Transport World has special significance for me as there is a very special vehicle being housed – a 1946 Bedford bus which was Invercargill City’s first transport bus – more so it was my Grandpops and he used for the Woodlands school bus run up until 1982.  Great memories as a kid out at Gran and Grandpops farm playing in the bus.  Have to admit there were a few tears when I climbed aboard this time – the smell of the leather seats, it really did take me back in time.

Finally a visit to Invercargill isn’t complete without a visit to E Hayes & Sons.  I hear you – why would we want to visit a hardware store – well this isn’t just any hardware store.  It is like taking a step back in time – a hardware, homeware, gift and engineering store all rolled into one.  It is also home to E Hayes Motorworks collection.  This is a collection of classic motorcycles, automobiles and engines including Burt Munros original World’s Fastest Indian motorcycle.  It really is a must do and we visit every time we come down as the display items do change. Not only that the staff are simply awesome – some true Southern hospitality.

Oreti Beach – Otatara

Speaking of Burt Munros Fastest Indian….. you have to check out Oreti Beach.  Follow the signs for Otatara and just keep going.   The road takes you right to the beach – right onto the beach that is, 26 glorious kilometres of smooth sandy beach that you can drive along.  This was my childhood playground and was also Burt Munro’s racetrack where he did his testing and racing and set the NZ open beach records.  A lot of history and I never even knew it growing up – now the whole world knows.

Ok so that’s our must dos when you visit Invercargill.  There is so much more to see and do – I haven’t even touched on the numerous walking opportunities, particularly out at Otatara – Otatara Reserve, Bushy Point, Fosbender Park, and Sandy Point – just to name a few, the Stead Street Wharf walk – gosh so many options.  OK so now I have touched on them.  Each one unique in their own right and worth a visit.  In typical fashion when visiting any region of NZ make sure you allow time.  You can’t see anything in a day…….

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about exploring where ever they go.

 

 

 


Exploring the Wonders of South Westland Mahitahi River Valley

Posted by Jan Roberts on October 06, 2017

Stephen and I are fortunate to see and do some pretty special things in our time exploring the West Coast and a recent visit to beautiful Bruce Bay  is definitely up there and added to that list of special things we’ve done in our lives.

We’d been staying at the gorgeous Mahitahi Lodge at Bruce Bay in South Westland with Jacqui and John – as if that wasn’t special enough in itself!  Knowing we are forever keen to explore John gave us directions and advice to check out the Mahitahi River and valley.  Always up for a challenge we didn’t need much convincing.

Cameras, tripod, snacks and water, warm clothing (just in case), tick, tick, tick, tick, all packed, locked and loaded and ready to go.  First stop was to see the farmer and ask permission to head up the valley.  This is all private farm land and it is imperative you always seek permission before venturing on private property.  With permission granted we were off.

This is a walk of ever-changing scenery – and terrain.  It could easily be something out of a movie set.  Heading off initially on a farm 4 wheel drive track – giving the farmer the access to the paddocks right up the back of the valley.  There are a couple of detours cut through the native forest where the river bank has fallen away thanks to the encroaching river.  For the most part though you are never far away from the river and can hear it burbling as it meanders its way through the farm land and on out to sea.  The waters are crystal clear and sparkling.

Eventually the valley opens out onto the grassy plains – cow country and we’ve been asked to be mindful as the cows are in calf.  After negotiating some electric farm fencing (shame we didn’t capture this on camera…..) and ensuring we stayed well away from a couple of cows we encountered in this particular area, we head down to the river bed.  The mountains are now towering above us – snow-capped after an unexpected early Spring snowfall.  Makes the sights and sounds all the more magical.

We snack on a log by the river – well ok we don’t snack on the log but find a log to sit on and have a snack…… I’m sure you knew that but thought I should clarify cos snacking on the log would be just plain weird…… It is so peaceful sitting amongst all this natural untamed wilderness and beauty.

Slowly we follow the river bed further up the valley towards the mountains – basically as far as we can go without having to cross the river which on a nice summers day would be a great thing to do but today on an early Spring day with the fresh snow on the mountains, we’ll give it a pass.

After a compulsory photo shoot it is time to start our meander back down the valley.  The cows are nothing short of hilarious – like they are the film stars, all lined up waiting for their chance at an audition – showing their best side – watching, waiting just in case today is the day they get their call up.  Not to be ladies but you enjoy your surroundings.

Walking back through the ever-changing scenery again we comment to each other how magical our day has been and just how privileged we are to be able to enjoy such beauty at our door step.

A big thanks to the farm owners for allowing us access to their land and also to John for helping organize and make the suggestion.  Reminder to all please always seek farm owners permission to enter private property.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They love to get out and explore this untamed natural wilderness they’re lucky enough to call home.