Explore an abandoned railway among native rainforest
With a combination of native bush, granite bluffs, a waterfall, dark tunnels and historic mining relics, Charming Creek Walkway combines the best of the West Coast. Join me on this rewarding day trip and step back into a time that once was, while I walk you through its history and natural wonders.
We’ll follow the abandoned railway once used by coal miners now a gentle walkway suitable for all ages; not something you see every day! The track leads through native forest and hand-cut tunnels, with views of the Ngakawau River and the Mangatini Falls.
You will be able to admire old coal mines, miners’ huts and abandoned equipment left on the trail while hiking along the old tramway. Back in 1942, 69 men worked here, producing around 43,000 tonnes of coal, the railway was bustling with up to 6 coal trains using it daily – some still remain and it will be your chance to spot them.
This trip is perfect if you’re looking to spend a day in our rugged West Coast and want to know more about the secrets this area holds – the mix of views and relics is sure to keep young and old entertained.
A few highlights:
- Historic mining relics hidden in the bush.
- Abandoned railway, coal mine and timber mill.
- Typical West Coast rainforest accessed over wooden bridges and hand-cut tunnels.
- Local knowledge and stories.
- Unbelievably blue rivers and rapids that seem to have no bottom.
As a born and bred West Coaster, the bush is in my blood! I love showing off my beautiful Kāinga Tupu (homeland) and all it has to offer. I'm always exploring new places with my best mate Skadi, the white shepherd. My love for exploring the great outdoors is what drove me to leave my hectic day job and create a life that allowed me to get outside more. I'm a big fan of essential living, enjoying the simple things and staying away from material goods; you can get the benefits from all that out in the bush. If you hike with me, we'll visit some spots literally off the beaten track. The beaches on my Instagram are a prime example. I look forward to showing you the Coast!
- Knows the Coast and the "Coasters" like the back of his hand.
- Good knowledge of survival manuals and outdoor techniques.
- Has a “pretty mean beard”.
- Has lived abroad for 17 years.
- Basic First Aid Certificate.
A glimpse into our history
We’ll start our trip either at the car park or in the nearby town of Westport, where we can grab a coffee in my favourite café before heading out. The scenic drive leads along the coastline and through several small townships – I can tell you all about them as my family is from here and I have spent a lot of time discovering the hidden gems around.
The track is well-marked and easy-going; the hike itself is not the challenge, but finding all the relics in the bush is! If you look close enough, you can find abandoned equipment and rails amidst the ferns, next to bigger remnants like the top of an old locomotive and some miners’ huts. All have been reclaimed by the bush.
We’ll follow the trail over wooden bridges and through tunnels carved into the rock until reaching a 37 meter long suspension bridge and the Mangatini Falls thundering into the river. There’s also an abandoned timber mill closeby, built by good ol’ Bob Watson, the owner of the railway.
The trail goes on for 10km in total, however, we can customize the trip and focus on the most interesting sights. Chat with me after you’ve booked and we can figure out what you’d like to see.
All tours require the proper gear to ensure you’re having the time of your life, and are well prepared if things go south. It’s the real and rugged New Zealand out there!
750ML Water Bottle
Sunscreen & hat
Top Base layer
Torch & Batteries
Warm hat & gloves (March to October)
Cutlery & cup
Lighter / Matches
Personal First Aid Kit
There are add-on extras for this tour. These are the little things that’ll either make your Adventure easier to organise or more rugged - your choice. You can add these during the booking process.
Bushdog Skadi (The White Wolf)
My epic Bushdog Skadi can join us on the trip which is great for kids who like the extra company (or if you just love dogs). Skadi will be on a lead the whole time.Free
Q & A
Your Bushman has added a couple of answers to questions other Visitors have asked in the past to help you with your booking plans. Once you book a tour, you'll be in direct contact with your Bushman for more support.
Is this suitable for families?
Definitely, it’s an easy walk into our rainforest and full of interesting mining relics that’ll keep the whole family entertained. The tracks are well-maintained and the pace is totally up to you.
I’ve got more time, are there longer hikes in the area?
Yeah, I have several Adventures nearby like an overnighter to Buckland Peaks or a 4-6 day trip along the Wangapeka Track. Both are great examples of our West Coast rainforest and the Wangapeka leads us all the way to Kahurangi National Park in Tasman. You can find more information on my Bushman profile by clicking on my face above!
Here’s a few answers to the more general questions about the whole journey. You can visit our help and support area for any further information or contact us via the chat function.
What is the refund and cancellation policy?
Bushman Tours sets a standard cancellation policy that can be found via our Terms & Conditions. This is globally set at 48 hours notice. However, Bushmen may add to this depending on the requirements for the Adventure (e.g. - hiring gear and renting equipment on your behalf). The final policy will be located at the bottom of the checkout, or you can reach out to us to check.
What happens if the tour is cancelled due to weather?
In most cases, the Bushman can arrange another day to run your tour, but this also comes down to when you're available if travelling through New Zealand. We recommend ensuring you have insurance for cancellation of any tours. If the Bushman has to cancel due to a health risk, we will call you to arrange another option.
What gear do I need?
Although we have a minimum requirement of gear, you will need the right equipment and gear that is relevant to the Adventure you're booking. This is usually found at the bottom of each tour page, but for our minimum, please visit our FAQs & blog page.
Can I hire gear/equipment?
In some circumstances, your Bushman will have equipment for you to hire. This is available to browse and book through the checkout. We may also have options through our checkout. Although you may be able to borrow gear during the tour, it's important to reserve it now.
What food shall I bring?
Depending on the length, this can vary. Your Bushman will advise on the tour page what is recommended for this particular Adventure, but typically, what we offer at checkout via the add-ons section is what you'll need. Keep it lightweight and nutritious if you buy your own.
Where do I meet my Bushman?
We always try to pick the closest iSite (Visitor Centre) to your Adventure's location. Instructions on precisely where to meet are sent after the booking is made. However, you can also message your Bushman and arrange another location as long as it's close enough to the region.
How much extra is it to add family/friends onto the booking?
If you book and find that more people want to come with you, we can arrange to add them onto the booking (this is dependant on the Bushman's preference to the number of people to take out). The more that book on the original checkout option, the cheaper the fee for each individual - so spread the word before you go to book! Please note, you cannot add or bring extra people 48 hours before the tour starts.
Can I talk to my Bushman before the Adventure?
Absolutely! Once you book, you will be able to login and chat directly to your Bushman through a private, secure chat. Here you can arrange some extras you would like to do, timings for pick up and much more.
Need more help?
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