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