We’d heard a bit about the Charming Creek Walk. We had some time to spare. The sun was shining. This was the day. We dug out our walking poles and we headed up the coast from Westport. After a stop for lunch at the Waimangaroa Cemetery, we drove on to Granity and Ngakawau. This is where the aerial cableway brings the coal from the Stockton coal mine down to; for loading onto trains.
It is also where the Ngakawau River reaches the sea. And where many years ago there was a private railway up the river and through to Charming Creek. This was to carry timber and coal. The trains are long gone and the valley is left in peace for the birds and occasional walkers on the Charming Creek Walkway.
The track follows the line of the railway up the Ngakawau River – naturally enough. Which is great because it means no hills. Almost immediately the track enters an impressive gorge. All the more impressive for having a railway created through it many years ago.
About an hour up the river the track crosses the river. So did the railway line and the trains in the olden days. Quite an engineering feat for a private railway.
At the bridge you can start to hear and see the Mangatini Falls. Here a substantial portion of the river falls on it’s descent from the Stockton Plateau. Getting the railway line around this part was another engineering feat. There is a tunnel section here as well.
The falls are only one branch of the river. The gorge continues around the corner. The track (and old railway line) climbs above another gorge section with lots of noisy falling water. To emerge into Charming Creek. Which is most charming. Here is the site of Watson’s Mill. There is almost nothing left but there are good information boards helping make a picture of the industry that used to be there. But mostly there is just the birds and the lovely little stream.
The track goes further on to the Charming Creek mine and a roadend in from Seddonville. But we were happy enough to retrace our steps and enjoy the walk back down to Ngakawau. We could see why the Charming Creek Walkway is well-rated as one of the best day walks in the country.
Gallery of photos – Autumn Adventures – 2014
(Click on any of the photos below to enlarge)