Unforgettable South Island short walk
The place to go to view dunes where the harsh coastal climate; constant wind has impacted the landscape. The path leads to the contrasting swamp and wetland areas where there magnificent kahikatea trees tower above the shaded boardwalks. Diversity, unforgettable natural beauty on the West Coast, South Island.
SHIP CREEK WALKS
- Tower platforms providing sweeping views of the ocean, Jackson Head and the wetlands
- The sheer contrast packed into a 1.5 km walking track from tussock clad sand dunes to dense wetland forest.
- Great photo opportunities from platforms overlooking the dune lake
The sand dunes, the wind, tussock and views of Jackson Head
The first part of this walk, along the sand dunes, is an easy access short walk. The track then becomes ‘short walk’ grade and winds through dense coastal forest stunted by wind. The walk opens out to provide magnificent photo opportunities from platforms that overlook the dune Lake Mataketake and the sweep of the coastline south-west to Jackson Head.
Much of the West Coast would have looked similar to the ancient kahikatea swamp forest prior to human settlement. The loop track becomes a boardwalk giving visitors an up close view of trees aged between 500 – 800 years. There are extensive information plaques describing the ecology of the area.
The trees were chopped down in their thousands to make ‘butter-boxes’ for the dairy industry due to their odourless characteristics.
SHIP CREEK WATERWAYS are the slow eddy of tea coloured waters rich in nutrients, stained with leaf tannin and humic acids supporting an extensive environment. The kahikatea (white pine), cabbage trees, flax and kowhai flourish together with whitebait, eels and birdlife.
The kahikatea can grow to a height of 60 metres and traces its lineage over 100 million years and has the oldest fossil record for New Zealand trees,
Ship Creek area – West Coast Department of Conservation manages the area.
These walks are signposted off SH6 as you head north from Haast to Lake Paringa.
- Monro Beach is near Lake Moeraki, 30 km north of Haast.
- Ship Creek Tauparikaka is 20 km north of Haast.
Remote Munro Beach, between July and December the yellow eyed Fiordland crested penguin might be seen in the surf and on the beach as well as Hector’s Dolphins in the onshore depths.
For more information about walking tracks check out West Coast walks and hikes, places to go and lace up the hiking boots.
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