Sean Mc on Skynet

More fun in Murchison and the West Coast



We spent the most of the next week in Murchison, paddling on various sections of the Buller river, including Doctors creek and Granity creek. Although levels were low there was still more water than there had been a few weeks earlier when we passed through first. Nothing too tough, just a load of grade3 rivers, relaxing though. We met up with some American and Danish paddlers too. At least there were a few of us hanging around together because Murchison is a very quiet town with not a lot to do in the area. JP, Liz, Alan and Aisling left from here as they had a ferry to catch in a few days time so it was time for us to move on for a while too. We drove to Westport with the plan of going up to the Karamea region for a few days. We visited the seal colony at Cape Foulwind, an interesting reserve and well worth a visit. There were hundreds of seals at the colony. After seeing the seals we continued on north towards Karamea. The Karamea area is noted for it's limerstone caves, they are spectacular to view, and as they are off the beaten track a little there isn't too many people at them.
Between Karamea and Westport is the former coalmining town of Denniston, although it's no longer a settlement the remnants of it's coalmining days are still preserved for all to see. The bigger attraction for us was that a load of mountain bike trails have been laid out in the area. In places the trails are a little hard to follow but overall the trails have it all, some tight technical parts and some long fast flats.

After this we were pretty tired so we hung around Westport for another day before heading south and back to Hokitika. We had a few days to spare before the Bullerfest (www.rivers.co.nz/bullerfestival) so we were hoping to find a few paddlers in Hoktika. Luckily we met with John from Sweden and his friend Malin. Still not much water to be had but we did paddle the Milltown gorge run of the Lower Arahora. It's a 10km long section with some grade 3 boulder gardens, in big water it would be amazing. The worst thing about the river is that the last few km are flat and very slow moving. We didn't put on the river until nearly 6pm so by time we got off it was nearly dark and we still had to collect 2 cars at the get on, the shuttle takes about 40mins each way. I was well tired by the end but what a day.

After the adventures od the previous day no one felt like doing much so we drove back to Murchison so we could go to then bullerfest which was starting the next day(Friday)

posted by SeanMc @ 5:29 AM,

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