Saturday, December 24, 2016

Charming Creek walkway

I had a great trip south from Karamea to Westport, but the highlight was the Charming Creek walkway starting near Ngakawau, that definitely deserves to be more widely known amongst Kiwis.

I took some deviations on my route south. First was to the river mouth at Little Wanganui. Next was a short walkway to Lake Hanlon, a 'reflective' lake that was created as a result of the 1929 Murchison earthquake. 

I drove down to Gentle Annie beach, where there was camping space on one side of the Mokihinui river mouth. Then it was back to the highway to find the Charming Creek walkway up alongside the Ngakawau River on what was formerly a railroad track.

My first obstacle was the coal trucks along the modern day railway, that were inching their way into the loading area for the coal from Stockton mine, further up the hill on a plateau. 

The walkway started gently enough beside the river- pleasant but not exceptional. But then things got more dramatic. There were a few tunnels to go through.  

Along the rock side edges were many of these daisies that I am sure I read were an alpine variety usually only found in the mountains. Can't find where I read that now, but I know we have similar daisies on Mt Cook amd Mt Taranaki. 

The best was yet to come on this walkway... I thought I had reached the waterfall I was headed for, but it turned out this was just the preamble.


There was a suspension bridge to cross first, across a wild, raging torrent in a gorge...

To be honest, I was a trifle scared when it wobbled and hoped the army guys who built it as a training exercise knew what they were doing!

But then came the drama of the 'major ' waterfall. I wasn't able to capture its majesty in a photo. You'll have to believe me- the rocks around it are massive, and the water flow was dramatic- no doubt even more so after the previous day's heavy rain.


I walked on to the historic millsite after this- then turned back, making a walk of about two and a half hours. You can walk a lot further if you want, making it three hours one way, or six hours return.


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