5. The Lazy Season 2018-2019

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged – I’m still not really sure that I’ll keep it up as it’s quite time-consuming. While testing these waters, I haven’t even let anyone know I’m doing it yet, and just want to be sure of being consistent first!

We have had a few weeks around family and friends over the Christmas and New Year break which is ongoing!! We’ve been in Westport, Reefton and back in Nelson just for a couple of days. It’s been nice!! And VERY relaxing as we haven’t had any time constraints – I can totally recommend this! We have done a few pleasant day walks with different family and friends, including the Coal Creek Falls, Charming Creek Walkway, Cape Foulwind, the Brunner Mine Site, the Charleston train ride and Denniston (all while staying in Westport); the Alborns Walk in Reefton and a drive to Shanty Town from Reefton (Shanty Town is near Greymouth); and the Cable Bay Walkway in Nelson (just up from The Glen end for me, to meet my sister Kirsty who walked through from where I dropped her at the Cable Bay end). Kevin also did another walk in Reefton to find fossils with our friend Ian. I wish I had taken photos of the fossils they found, but forgot to do this.

The wild West Coast – on the Cape Foulwind Walkway
The lighthouse on the Cape Foulwind Walkway
Old coal trucks on the Charming Creek Walk
There were a few tunnels to walk through on the Charming Creek Walk.
The photo doesn’t do it justice – on the Charming Creek Walkway
Panakenake in bloom – Charming Creek Walkway
Spot the ant on the celmisia – Charming Creek Walkway
The Charleston Train Ride through the bush. We sat next to a family of Mum, Dad and two children aged 7 and 9 from Texas US who had just the day before finished the Nelson Lakes ridge walk to Angelus and back (overnight) – and were now taking the train to do the blackwater rafting. Wow! The kids were looking tired but they only had 3 weeks in NZ so they were keeping up the pace.
Limestone from the oligicene period – on the Charleston Train Ride
Brunner Mine Site – really interesting to walk around
Old coke ovens at the Brunner Mine site. NZ produces high quality bituminous coal which was once heated in these ovens to remove impurities, resulting in coke which was then used in steel production.
Spot the 4 big kids playing on the waterfall! Coal Creek Falls walk.
Spot the Taniwha at the base of this kawakawa! We saw this while exploring the Punakaiki Cave on the drive between Westport and Greymouth. This was a beautiful stretch of coast – we intend to go back and take it more slowly.

The rest of the photos are from the Alborns Walk in Reefton – an old coal and gold mining experience.

Iron staining in a creek.
Old Oceania Mine settling pond.
Some kind of clubmoss in seed
Iron concretions weathering out

I’m back to my old tricks and fitted in a solo walk along part of the Old Ghost Road – this is becoming a pattern! I intend to finish walking it from the other end while Kevin spends next week at Canterbury Faire near Christchurch.

I really liked the people interactions I had on the Old Ghost Road. Cool people doing cool things. One young guy popped his head around the tussocks while I was sitting by my tent at the end of the day. He had just ridden up from the Lyell as a birthday treat to himself and was going straight back down as he had to be in Christchurch that night. The following day a man came bounding up the zigzags beneath the Ghost Hut while I was checking it out – he had flown in a helicopter over the thousand acre plateau that morning and been dropped off at the 35km point and was running the next 50 kms out to Lyell. There was a young woman walking by herself right through, and two sets of older couples who were walking through hut by hut and really taking their time, stopping for an hour or more at good viewpoints throughout their days. There were others too, but I didn’t get to talk with them. It was a really busy trail – I was quite surprised. Back at the Top Shelter at around 3pm of my second day I came across two Poles arguing in Polish. One of them repeated what he was saying in English when I came up which I found very funny. He wanted to stop and cook a hot meal then and there, while his cycling companion wanted to wait until they reached the Ghost Hut. It wasn’t going to get dark until 9pm, so as far as I could see it could go either way, depending on whose need was greatest! I felt like they might not be travelling together for too much longer…

The track from the Lyell end is nearly all through bush until about 5 kms above the Lyell Saddle hut. I climbed 1000 metres through the day to get to my campsite for the night.
There are two or three short stretches of steep screes to cross – as this is a mountain bike track you can see they have cyclists well protected from falling off – plus there are notices warning cyclists to walk across these parts.
Relics from past gold mining times are placed along the way, along with notice boards that explain more about the mining. Interesting to read! There were three gold mining towns in the bush up here, each one complete with school and pub! You can climb up and find old signs of buildings – but I’m saving that for another time.
I went past the Lyell Saddle hut after climbing 700 metres. The bikes belong to a Canadian couple in NZ for 3 weeks to cycle as many mountain bike trails as they can fit in. There was a big goat sleeping in the sun behind this hut – I accidentally scared it off!
My tent site for the night – the peak you can see behind is Rocky Tor which is 1456 metres high.
Watching the sunset.
Celmisia everywhere, in flower, sitting on top of granite. The granite was varied with lots of muscovite and biotite flakes showing in different rocks.
The trail sidles the range heading for Ghost Hut.
Looking back at the Ghost Hut perched on the bluff.
Sitting by granite boulders on the Skyline Ridge.
The Skyline Steps go down and down and down.
My destination – the bottom of the Skyline Steps – gotta turn around and go all the way back to the Lyell now!
Track photo! – can’t believe some of the rocks the cyclists are biking over…
…more of the same. There were areas of tight turns/zigzags in places too. It’s really easy for walkers, but for bikers? – I really admire them for being able to handle this stuff!
Looking back down at the track that leads up to the Skyline Ridge which heads off to the left.
You can see a lot of erosion in the mountains (some are still around due to the Inangahua earthquake of 1968. ‘Damage’ to this environment is typically ‘blamed’ on the Inangahua Earthquake and also the Murchison Earthquake of 1929). At the top of the photo you can make out the Thousand Acre Plateau which is an ancient stretch of sea floor (peneplain) overlain with tertiary rocks.
One of my last stops with a friendly South Island Robin before heading out at the Lyell. It’s been a long way but we are getting 16 hours of daylight at present, so I’ve had plenty of time for stops. There were South Island Robins everywhere, often in pairs, coming to visit and one even pecked on my boots. On the bird front I also watched three tui eating nectar from flaxes and flying across the valley when I set up my tent last night.

2 thoughts on “5. The Lazy Season 2018-2019”

  1. Thanks for your blog posts. I’ve just started following you on 12/6/19. Be good to also see some photos of your vehicle and van parked up where you stay. And the view from there. KP

    Liked by 1 person

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