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Published: February 24th 2010
Back to Pohara to walk the short Grove track - an amazing landscape of limestone formations - then back over Takaka Hill to Motueka, through the Motueka Valley, stopping at McLeans Reserve - free camping site by the river.
Backtracked to the road to Mt Arthur where we walked in to Flora Hut. The road up there was so steep they had concreted part of it. Then down to Murchison via the Porika and Braeburn tracks. We booked into one of the old pubs in Murchison, then drove to Six Mile where the original power station for Murchison was built. Everything is still all intact. There is an hour walk around the site, up to the dam and weir at the top.
Met Garth P at 9am to take him over the New Creek to Denniston track (the shortcut to Westport! Yeah right!). Although we have done this twice before, it is still quite challenging as the Mackly River and two other streams have to be crossed, and the track has deteriorated in some places. The views were amazing as it was a cloudless day. This made the trip and views from Mt Rochfort well worth the drive up there. The three of us stayed at the McManus Hotel - great hospitality.
21/02/10 to 23/02/10
After farewelling Garth, who had to drive home to Blenheim, we drove north to Granity, stopping in for a coffee with John and Sue W from Kerikeri who were staying in their bach there. Then on to Karamea and whilst there we drove to the end of the road north where the Heaphy Track starts. This was on the first evening where we thought we would stay at the DOC camping ground. After being eaten alive by sandflies in the first 3 minutes we decided we couldn’t put up with that for 3 nights so, back to Karamea.
Three nights at the Karamea Domain camping ground at the back of the Area School was a great place to relax and experience camping as it was when we were kids - no demarcation to tell you where to put your tent, an honesty box to pay for the washing machine, and good old kiwi hospitality, fishing in the river over the back, and a 10 minute walk to the pub for whitebait fritters - great stuff!!
A drive to the Oparara Valley was well rewarded with a walk to the Oparara and Moria Arches. After completing these walks we met a Swiss woman who was starting to worry about her Swedish friend who had gone fishing up the river and was two hours late. After discussion with one of the tour guides we were about to pack a backpack ready to walk up the river to look for him when he appeared out of the bush.
There had been a misunderstanding about time. We met them for a beer later. We also met an interesting Scotsman who walks from Karamea to Cobb Valley over the mountains (not following the tracks) very experienced and knowledgeable.
After a half hour to say bye to everyone we’d met, we headed south to Ngakawau and walked the track formed from the private coal and milling railway that had been formed in the 1920s. There are remains of coal bins, the old wooden centre brake rail, boilers and buildings and tunnels. The swingbridge across the river provides spectacular views of the Mangatini Falls.
We have arrived at the old Albion Hotel in Westport as there is rain expected overnight and the thought of a wet tent is not appealing.
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