In 1888 Reefton became the first town in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere to receive electricity, the work of Walter Prince, and its streets were lit by commercial electricity generated by the Reefton Power Station. Many of the heritage buildings have been restored and offer an insight to the past. The Lewis Pass is 66 km to the south-east.
Lewis Pass (el. 864 m.) is a mountain pass connecting the West Coast with north Canterbury; it passes through extensive unmodified beech forest.The actual pass is the saddle between the valleys of the Maruia River to the northwest and the Lewis River to the southeast. The saddle is located close to the small spa of Maruia Springs.
There doesn’t appear to be so many points of interest on this route except for Maruia Springs and the better known Hanmer Springs and a few short walks.
The DoC Camp at Marble Hill is spacious plus is the starting point for a trek to Lake Daniels for the trampers/hikers. There is a place marker there that is right on the
Alpine fault Line!!! Those on a short time can enjoy a five minute stroll to the “˜Sluice Box,” where the Maruia River forces its way through a narrow marble gorge.
The Alpine Nature Walk is a 20 mins loop track at the start of the St James Walkway. It leads through an alpine wetland, with views of Gloriana Peak and the Spenser Mountains. It is accessed from the St James Carpark 400 m east of the Lewis Pass on SH7.
I’m not a fan of hot springs (and New Zealand has many) but I will take a side trip to have lunch at Hanmer Springs. The hot springs were produced by the fractured rock bed along the Hanmer fault.
Not far from Hanmer I turn left onto a minor road, SH70 (the Inland Kaikoura route), to travel to Kaikoura.
Just after Waiau pull off while still on the hill overlooking the community and the Waiau River valley for one of the most spectacular scenes one will find. The rest of the 100k road seems singularly uninteresting but it is a quicker (albeit hilly and windy) to get to Kaikoura.
Accommodation: Alpine-Pacific Holiday Park
69 Beach Road
Phone: 03 319 6275
$42 .00 free wifi