A short drive today down from Karamea to another Marram house, this time just out of Westport at Carters Beach. Today’s walk was on the Charming Creek Walkway, accessible just behind the coal works at Hector.

The first section of track follows the old railway line that was used to facilitate coal extraction from further up the Ngakawau Gorge. We walked along the tracks which were sometimes buried, sometimes broken. The track followed the Ngakawau River starting flat and slowing rising as we entered the gorge, in some of the steeper sections remnants of the wooden brake track used to slow the decent of the coal bins could still be seen. At a bridge crossing a tributary of the river we watched a small tidal bore slowly pushing up the river, raising the water level quite dramatically before being sucked out again. More whitebaiters were also visible.

There were a number of tunnels on the track, the longest quite dark inside but made safe through the laying of a full length boardwalk. Another track feature was the various waterfalls, from the large and impressive Mangatini Falls to the short sections of track that seemed to be covered in light rain, water falling over from the cliffs above. Near the Mangatini Fall was a swing bridge over the river giving good views up and down the gorge and across the river to the falls as well.

MG 7467Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The first tunnel.

MG 7480Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A track side waterfall.

MG 7492Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Water on the tracks.

MG 7507Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Mangatini Falls.

Our turning point was the site of the old Watson’s Mill. While looking around the rusting remains of old boilers a South Island robin joined us, looking for any insects we may have kicked up as we moved around. Some other walkers also arrived and told us a few stories about the area and reminisced on days gone by while we ate snacks in the shade of a shelter. The robin stayed as well, happy to take the odd scrap of food an he bought a friend back with him after disappearing to perhaps feed some chicks.

MG 7530Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The robin perching on a rusting boiler.

MG 7546Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A boiler on the grass.

MG 7552Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Heading back.

We walked back with fewer stops, happy to finally reach the car on what had been an interesting but warm walk. We had a late lunch at a rest stop on the road towards Westport, stopping also in Westport to get more supplies including a nice bottle of Port to help relax us all before bed.

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