Just thirty minutes out of Westport (and 44km from Omau Settlers Lodge) is the beautiful Charming Creek walkway. The walkway follows an old disused railway line which used to haul coal & timber out of the valley. The track takes you through stunning native forest, alongside the Ngakawau River and hugs sheer bluffs within the Ngakawau Gorge.
Lee and I have only walked a portion of the walkway, starting at the Hector end and walking to the swing bridge at the Mangatini Falls, which is about 4km each way. When my good friend Hannah came to stay recently, it was at the top of my list of places I wanted to show her. As a runner, she thought it would be the perfect place for an off-road run – but fortunately I managed to talk her out of that idea – I only have one speed these days, and it’s most definitely a walk!
The entire trail, starting at Hector and finishing at Seddonville, is 10.5km long. Not only is it suitable for walking/running – it is now also open to mountain bikers and has been classified as a Grade 3.
So if you’re heading North from Westport on a day trip, I highly recommend a stroll on the Charming Creek walkway, the native plants and setting are amazing, and you pass through several tunnels and areas of historical interest. You’ll probably see some native New Zealand birds, and if your lucky spot our large, native (and carnivorous) snail; distinctly recognisable for it’s shiny shell with colours ranging from red, brown to black or yellow.
For more information about the Charming Creek Walkway, visit the Department of Conservation (DOC) website.
Posted by Karen from Omau Settlers Lodge, Cape Foulwind, West Coast, South Island