Make Time For This Walk!!!!!!!! It’s one of the best easy walks on the South Island.
The Charming Creek Walkway is CHARMING²! This is a walkway through time, through history, through jungle…through beauty. The fairly easy track winds along for about 4km, gaining only 100m the entire way (about 50-60 minutes one-way to Watson’s Mill). What you’ve got here is a track along the long-abandoned Charming Creek railway (which extracted both coal and timber from the surrounding bush.) The walkway follows the actual rails of the railway—you walk between the meter-wide rails the entire walk— as you slowly ascend along the “raging torrent” of the chocolaty-brown Ngakawau River Gorge. This track hosts a bunch of little surprises, as well as a couple of big ones! There’s a couple of in-situ relics, a couple of tunnels, a couple of waterfalls, a couple of woo-hoo bridges…and, even a handful of glow worms! All that, and, you’ll even read some interesting info panels and learn of the “Exceptionally Busy” Mr. Schadick. For a daywalk a turn-around point at Watson’s Mill, just 5 minutes past Mangatini Falls, is a good call.
Ok, here’s a personal appeal from me to everyone reading this book and traveling NZ: Do This Walk! Please. You’ll like it. I LOVE it! Make the time, even if you weren’t planning to sample Karamea’s charms. The 35km drive from Westport is fast and straight, so make the detour. This track, largely ignored by just about everybody, is completely bang-for-the-buck worth it, much more so than some of the overpromoted “highlights” that you’ll find farther south on the West Coast. If you like NZ Frenzy by the time you’re reading this entry, then just do it for me…I think you’ll be glad you did.
WALK: Just follow the rail lines for 4km. No turns or options. Turn back at Watson’s Mill (the track continues for many more kms, but not nearly as impressively as the first 4km.