New Zealand Walk: An ex­pe­ri­ence on the Old Ghost Trail?

Walking New Zealand - - Contents - By Sharon Bergstrom

As much as I love tramp­ing, and can boast hav­ing walked most of New Zealand’s Great Walks, it’s not as easy as it used to be.

I sup­pose that’s to be ex­pected when you’ve reached re­tire­ment age and be­yond! But there is still a yearn­ing to do more, so when friends men­tioned a he­li­copter trip into the wilder­ness of the “Old Ghost Trail” and walk­ing out, my ex­cite­ment grew in­stantly.

So where is the Old Ghost Trail you may ask?

I didn’t know at the time ei­ther, but it stretches 85km from the Lyell His­toric Re­serve, ( be­tween Murchi­son and Inan­gahua) on the eastern side of the Buller Gorge, to 4km in­land from Sed­donville, on the West Coast, (be­tween West­port & Karamea) and rises to a height of 1300m above sea level.

The whole trail is de­scribed as a re­mote, multi use trail, at­tract­ing walk­ers and se­ri­ous cy­clists and wait for it ....... should only be at­tempted by tech­ni­cally ad­vanced, com­pe­tent, fit moun­tain bik­ers, and ex­pe­ri­enced, fit tram­pers!

Oh great! Know­ing that, (you would think,) would ex­clude our party, for sure?

But, not this group of in­trepid tram­pers who de­cided there has to be a way around ev­ery­thing!

For us, it was a chance to pur­sue an eas­ier op­tion, in­clud­ing ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the thrill of a he­li­copter ride, to fly us into Spec­i­men Point, the last hut on the track. Then we could walk out at our leisure, over the course of a day, and (for the most part) on a grad­u­ally de­scend­ing track.

But, back to the begin­ning of our ex­pe­ri­ence.

We were trav­el­ling up the West Coast in our mo­tor home and plan­ning to ren­dezvous with friends who were trav­el­ling from up north in their car­a­van. Each of us only had a few days to fit this ad­ven­ture into our sep­a­rate South Is­land sched­ules and so proved

Left: A sus­pen­sion bridge with the river be­low.

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