Sunday, March 2, 2008

Day three, 11th Feb 2008

We had an errand to run in Greymouth for Andrew, organising insurance for all his gear while in the polytechnics 'motel', so one more trip into Greymouth was necessary. This is about a 35km trip, with a couple of one lane bridges (shared with the railway line) to cross, so you can guess we were getting a bit tired of this drive. So we had planned to come back via two or three nice walks in th Lake Brunner area. Dropped the insurance policy off for Andrew at 10 ish, bought a bit of lunch at the local supermarket and headed off towards Moana, at the end of Lake Brunner.

First off, we thought the Rakaitane Track sounded good, just 45 minutes return from the car park in Moana, with wonderful views of the Arnold River. It started well over a 'swing bridge', but in the end was just another NZ bush walk, with a few plaques telling us what the trees were. At the turn around point, the only place we could actually see the river, we watched this Heron feeding for a few minutes, which was very pleasant.

So, we had a bite to eat, and deciding against a 3 hour walk to a view point on Te Kinga mountain, we headed around the lake to Mitchells, and the Carew Falls track. The drive was quite interesting, in that the map showed the road as sealed, whereas about 25 km of it wasn't, and was also mostly single track! Having arrived at the falls safely, we had a great walk up through the bush, about 30 minutes, and maybe 100 metres climb, to one of the most exciting falls I have been near. Notice I don't say 'seen'. We got a great view of the top half, but when we got to the viewing place just under the falls, expecting to stop and have a pleasant picnic, I stepped out to have a look and was soaked to the skin in about 5 seconds. There had been a lot of rain on the West Coast, and I think most of it was coming over the falls. This video may give you a little bit of an idea. Sorry about the download times! Its about 15 meg!

So off we went again, heading back to Hokitika to enjoy a nights rest, but on the way we decided to do a walk we had seen the previous day, when it was too wet to do it. The Blue Spur bushwalk is a DOC (Department of Conservation) path, so we weren''t expecting anything too difficult. The loop walk starts up a stream valley, up onto a ridgeline, where a path takes you through old mine workings. With the heavy rain the day before, the walk up the stream was superb, very wet and slippy. At the top, the bush was 'dripping' to say the least. As we walked around, various mineshafts and tunnels were seen, but the highlight had to be the drainage channels built to move water around the various workings. These were about 70 metres long, about 40-60 cms wide, and about 2.5 to 3 metres deep, and the track followed one of them from end to end. Now I am not a small person, and I was carrying camera gear and a daypack, so these were quite a squeeze! These photos might give you an idea. And finally, to crown it all, this NZ TomTit came to say hello, and follow us through the bush, eating the insects we disturbed as we walked. A fantail came with him, but he was too quick for me!

And with that, we headed off back to the motel, happy with seeing Andrew fully sorted, and having started our 'walking' holiday at last. Only about 3-4 hours today, and over some easy paths, but still a great day!

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