Carew waterfall is part of the road trip
KUMARA JUNCTION TURNOFF
The cheerfully painted pukeko birds on the bus stop is the signal of your turn onto State Highway 73 destination Kumara. The town of Kumara is a rock star, complete with an enormous Rock to prove the point. Kumara’s location is ideal for the West Coast Wilderness Trail which runs directly through Kumara. There are several magnificent day trips from Kumera from gold mining trails to exploring Lake Brunner and temperate forest trails. Information plaques adorn heritage sites and buildings. Cafes, a historic hotel Theatre Royal and the accommodation providers are great reasons to stop and stay a while longer in Kumara.
Learn more about Kumara here.
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
- Explore town’s heritage precinct and find out where King Dick had his home
- Find Londonderry Rock and explore short walks from Taylor’s Hill (15 minute loop walk) and the Payn Track (former tram track through regenerating bush)
- Find the historic public baths (once the biggest in the country)
- Explore the town’s cemetery and ponder the fate of some of the town’s inhabitants
Allow up to 1 – 2 exploring Kumara.
The road is gravel in parts as it crosses the Taramakau River near the small Kumara power station. The dense bush on either side of the road gives a sense of adventure as you travel down an authentic side road of the West Coast. The road climbs to a saddle and then descends into the historic gold mining area of the Greenstone River. This is the site of the original discovery of gold in 1864 that led to gold rush fever. There are some rusting sluicing relics on the roadside. The settlement has been ghosted however the bodies remain as silent witnesses of a gold mining past in the quiet Greenstone cemetery.
TIP: Greenstone Cemetery. One of the oldest cemeteries on the West Coast it is definitely worth stretching your legs to wander. The cemetery is atmospheric, tilted. Allow ½ hour exploring the cemetery.
Inchbonnie is a local secret. The best lakeside views are here. The road meanders around the lake with small beaches to stop and linger. The iconic views of drowned trees and ranges are from these quiet coves. The world famous luxury guesthouse Lake Brunner Lodge (also known by its former name Mitchells) offers gourmet retreats and the luxury of being exclusive in the New Zealand backcountry.
Lake Brunner Lodge is the ultimate retreat. The hotel welcomes casual guests for a drink, a night or perhaps a week of chilling out. The lake invites short strolls and a chance to connect with the natural wild west. The hotel’s reputation for being a world-class anglers’ heaven is well deserved. Spend your day’s hunting wild trophy brown trout with local guides or simply relaxing in the comforts of the Lodge.
The glacial formed lake is an intense dark, inky colour due the high level of tannins entering the lake. This creates a mirror effect with the mountains and trees sharply reflected in the water.
Explore lower Taramakau River through to Bain Bay or take a trail through lush verdant green rainforest to magnificent waterfalls.
Water sculptured granite boulders encourage visitors to sit awhile to soak up the views of Lake Brunner.
- Length 2 km
- Duration 1 hour return
Getting there: The track starts on Kumara-Inchbonnie Road, about 300 m east of Lake Brunner Lodge. If you are not in the region, rather Moana you can catch a water taxi to the walk’s entrance and disembark at the small beach nearby. Allow up to 2 hours exploring the lake, waterfall and absorbing the scenery.
MOANA (LAKE BRUNNER)
Your next destination is Moana (Lake Brunner township). After the quiet backroads Lake Brunner is a hustle and bustle of a town where visitors congregate and boats are attached to every 4WD. Moana has a tiny permanent population yet in the busy summer months it is very popular as a camping spot. The well deserved reputation for fishing wild brown trout ensures a steady stream of dedicated fishing fans. The Tranzalpine stops at the charming Moana heritage railway station. Boats can be hired and there is a water taxi service operating out of Moana. Pop down to the lakeside and view the activity and listen to the fishing crowd exclaim the size of their catch.
Capture a selfie at the railway station
Moana railway station (1940), Ana Street
This much photographed charming railway station is a welcoming sight for railway passengers on the Tranzalpine train. Rail Heritage Trust describes the building as, “Moana is a Troup Class A design, incorporating when built an office, lobby, ladies’ waiting room and toilet, but in the reverse order to the standard design. At the west end is the former postal lobby
Learn more … Greymouth heritage places of interest.
Consider lunch at the local Kingfisher Restaurant and Bar with its lake views.
Allow up to 2 hours enjoying the views and ambiance of Moana.
Getting there. Your next stop is Jacks Mills School. Look carefully for the sign ‘Tiny SchoolHouse.’ From Moana the road is named Arnold Valley Road and Jacks Mill is on Blair Rd.
The Kotuku Model Bungalow is impossibly cute. The Arnold Valley Rd is a typical rural narrow side road with paddocks, sheep and rural activity. At the end of the road is a tiny replica house built by students in the 1930’s. The property is open to the public although the historic Kotuku Model Bungalow is locked and closed. Peer through the windows and make a donation in the box to support efforts to maintain the heritage site.
Learn more … Greymouth heritage places of interest.
Allow up to 1 hour marvelling at school pupils aged between 10 – 12 years building the carefully constructed miniature house.
BRUNNER HISTORIC MINE SITE
You are on your way back to Greymouth via BRUNNER HISTORIC MINE SITE on the Taylorville Rd
- Beehive coke ovens
- Interpretative panels with their photographs bring to life the miner’s lives
- Historic suspension bridge across the Grey River — imagine loaded railway wagons brimming with coal being delivered to Greymouth Port
- Flat easy walk suitable for kids and wheelchair friendly
Brunner Mine walk is a 2 km flat easy walk. The coal manufacturing sites were operational from 1860 until the 1896 disaster. The heritage site has rare original beehive brick coke ovens, original chimneys and mining relics. The archeological site is of tremendous significance to New Zealand’s industrial history and must-go destination.
TIP: Cross both sides of the river to ensure you thoroughly explore the area, Allow up to an hour to view displays.
The Brunner Mine was one of several mines situated on the banks of the Grey River, at an area known as “Coal Gorge” between the townships of Stillwater and Taylorville. The town of Brunner (formerly Brunnerton) is nearby. The West Coast had surplus labour of former gold miners ready and willing to extract high quality coal.
Learn more … Brunner Mine Site
Allow up to 1 hour at the memorial site
RETURN TO GREYMOUTH
Greymouth, Kumara, Carew Creek Waterfalls, Inchbonni’s Lake Brunner Hotel, Moana (Lake Brunner), Jacks Mill, Brunner, return to Greymouth
TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
Inchbonnie is a side road on the West Coast which is saying something about the quiet backcountry feel to the area. Mitchells, former name of Lake Brunner Lodge, took its name from an early settler and sits at the southern edge of the lake. The settlement of Moana is at the lake’s northern end and can be viewed across the 5 km of the lake, The clearing at Mitchells is 11km from Inchbonnie and about halfway between Jacksons and Kumara.