IntroductionCharming Creek South Walkway is a short, 15-minute walk that follows an historic bush tramway.
Charming Creek Walkway is split into two separate tracks due to a large active slip.
These two separate tracks are:
- Charming Creek South Walkway which is described here, and
- Charming Creek North Walkway.
The track leads to a coal working area with historic remains and a Ruston and Hornsby Rail Tractor.
Carpark to Ngakawau bins area
The track starts with an easy 10-minute walk to the Ngakawau bins area.
This area includes:
- coal bins
- a boiler
- loco shelter, and
- a workshop of which some remains are to be seen including a chimney, the cab of an F Class locomotive and workshop pit.
Ngakawau bins area to Ruston and Hornsby Rail Tractor
A further 5 minutes’ walk along you come across a points lever. This lever operated a turnout that split the track into the lower level line and the higher level line. The lower level line took the timber trains along the river and the higher level line took the coal trains to the top of the bins.
On the higher-level track, you can see the remains of a Ruston and Hornsby Rail Tractor. Return via the same path.
Toilets are available:
- at the Buller Bay freedom camping site at Ngakawau, and
- Southern carpark at Ngakawau during summer, usually October to Easter Weekend.
This ride goes over historic railway formations – there may be sharp or rusty metal remnants along the track.
This is a shared-use track. Follow the mountain bikers code: respect others, respect the rules, respect the track.
- Starting at Westport head east out on SH67.
- Continue on SH67 for around 31 km until Ngakawau.
- Just before Ngakawau River Bridge turn right onto Tyler Road.
- Around 450 metres down the road is the start of the track. Signs show where the track starts.
- This area has rapidly changing weather since it’s in the wild West Coast.
- Don’t cross beyond barriers, there’s significant rock fall beyond the barriers.
- Keep children close because of exposed edges.
- Potential rockfall along the track.
Don’t drink water from the streams
There is high mineral count from the acid mine drainage. The water is monitored daily by BT mining to ensure it sits with the relevant tolerance. Bring your own water.
The hardy Ngakawau Gorge Daisy (Celmisia morganii) flowers abundantly on steep rock faces from December to January.
This is the only known habitat for this rare and protected species.
Charming Creek is an outstanding example of the technological innovations by early timber millers and coal miners on the West Coast. Read about the history of Charming Creek.