Up Ship Creek – Heading South Out West

Ship Creek walkOnce back to the main highway from Okarito we headed south, towards the Glaciers. But first, we came to Lake Mapourika. This is another gorgeous West Coast lake in the bush, carved by a long-gone glacier. We were just in time to catch the lake calm. While we were stopped there the breeze came up, and changed it to a different scene.

Lake Mapourika

Lake Mapourika – the mirror

Lake Mapourika

Lake Mapourika

Lake Mapourika

Lake Mapourika

Lake Mapourika

Lake Mapourika

From there we headed to Franz Joseph (for fuel for Suzi motorhome) and then Fox Glacier (for fuel for us). We’d worked frequently at Fox Glacier a couple of summers ago, and it was interesting to stop for a while. It didn’t look like a lot had changed. When we worked there we drove between Hawea and Fox Glacier a number of times, and managed to tick off a few of the tourist stops. One I still wanted to see was Ship Creek, where the road gets back to the coast south of Knight’s Point.  

I’d imagined it was a walk from the road to the coast, which you can’t see from the road. Actually, it was nothing like that. A short road off the main highway was soon at a large car park in the beach dunes. And then the forest walk headed back under the main highway, and up the Ship Creek/ Tauparikaka. But first we checked out the beach. Someone told us they’s seen a couple of dolphins in the surf, and sure enough there were. That was a nice thrill.

Ship Creek dunes and car park

Ship Creek dunes and car park

However, we’d come to explore the forest, so we set off along the track up the creek, under the road, and into some extraordinary forest. There was every shade of green, there were all sorts of trees, there were small trees and tall trees, there were ferns and mosses, there was the stream and there was swamp. It’s an awesome little walk.

Ship Creek walk

Ship Creek walk

Ship Creek walk

Ship Creek walk – where the trees go to the sky

Ship Creek

Ship Creek – brown from the tannin in the water

Ship Creek

Ship Creek pretending to be a mirror

Ship Creek walk

Ship Creek walk

Ship Creek walk

Ship Creek walk

Ship Creek walk

Ship Creek walk and a really big tree

Ship Creek walk - some of the swampy stuff

Ship Creek walk through some of the swampy stuff

The Ship Creek walk is a little gem. The West Coast is about a lot more than glaciers and pancake rocks. Most of all it is about forest, and the only way to appreciate the forest is to walk through some of it; any of it. There is lots on offer, from one end of the Coast to the other. The more you experience, the more you’ll understand the place. And the more you’ll appreciate the difficulties that faced the early explorers and travellers and settlers.

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4 Responses to Up Ship Creek – Heading South Out West

  1. gay dornbusch says:

    Stunning pics and doesn’t look like old mans beard is a problem in the forests there

    • Ross says:

      Thanks Gay. And I think you are right. We were a bit worried when we saw some clematis, but someone said it was the native variety. It looks like the Old Man’s Beard is mostly up north in Westland link here.

  2. Karyn says:

    I have been thinking the west coast might be my next short NZ holiday. It’s been prob 20 years since I was down that way. Love the reflections in Ship Creek.

    • Ross says:

      Yep, it’s well worth a revisit. There’s a lot of places we’d go back to, from Karamea and the Oparara Basin, Denniston, the Buller Gorge, the Westport – Greymouth drive, Hokitika Gorge, the wild beaches esp up north, Okarito, the Fox Glacier glowworm walk, Lake Mathieson, Ship Creek, the Fox – Hawea drive, history at every turn, the Alpine Express or whatever it’s called, the new Wilderness Bike Trail…. don’t make it too short šŸ™‚

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