I’ll be covering about 100 kilometres as the crow flies but with some side trips, the first of which means a left turn at Mohikanui, and, depending on the tide, if it is low, a right turn.
I would like to see the wreck of the Steamer SS Lawrence that was grounded on the Mokihinui bar 28th April 1891. Dasha and I had a 5 minute (or less) glimpse of the beach but in our urgency to depart Mohikanui we didn’t really get to see it except for a photo taken at 60x zoom.
It’s just a 6 kilometre drive to Seddonville and I have no idea what is there. It was New Zealand’s first state owned mine and named after a Prime Minister of the time.
The Charming Creek walk was planned for Dasha’s visit and again, in our haste to exit Mohikanui, we went past it. It all seems a little silly now in retrospect, Mohikanui accomodation wasn’t great but the need to leave was overdone a little on my part, maybe due to lack of sleep.
“From the Ngakawau walkway entrance there is an easy 20 minute walk through lush riverside forest to the Bins. Just after the bridge over the rushing Mine Creek, watch out for the top of a tiny locomotive called a ‘Coffee Pot’ which was used up this railroad lying in the bush on the left side. There are good story boards at the Bins telling the story of the Watsons and their private railroad. Past the Bins the track enters the Lower Ngakawau Gorge. Sections of the old wooden centre brake rail are reminders of the difficulty of controlling heavy trains on the steep grades. After you’ve negotiated the rockfall section of the track, you’ll enter the first tunnel. It takes a strange turn with a major kink in the middle. It is known as Irishmen’s Tunnel – perhaps a little too much Irish whisky?”
To complete the walk, with arranged transportation at the other end, takes 3+ hours or 6+ hours return so I will do as much as time allows as I want next to do what Dasha and I couldn’t due to timing.
I expect to make a stop at Granity, for coffee and maybe lunch and a walk on the beach.
On and up to Dennison, driving over 660 metres (2000 ft) above sea level and 8 kilometres of twisty road to the top.
I am going to take the ‘Gorge Express’ (if the weather is fine); a short guided walk to the train station, a train ride along the old coal transport road with spectacular views of the Waimangaroa Gorge, across the stunning Banbury Arches then 40 metres into the Banbury mine. The stunning stone Banbury Arches provided the only tramway access over treacherous gully into the Banbury mine. Both coal and brave people were transported via wagon down the famous Denniston Incline, known as the Eighth Wonder of the World for its length and perilously steep gradient, to the Conns Creek rail sidings below. The Denniston Incline may be a thing of the past, but the Banbury Arches have been restored to their full glory.
Start: 9:30am, 12:30pm and 3:15 pm Book now online or phone 0800 881 880: Allow 1h 15m $45.00
From there is is a 30 minute drive to Westport.
Accomodation: Westport Kiwi Holiday Park & Motels
37 Domett St
Phone: +64 3 789 7043 (NZMCA discount)
$34.00 per night. Wifi but not free.