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Charming Creek Railway Walk

Home  »  South Island Walks  »  Seddonville  »  Charming Creek Railway Walk – Walk detail

Charming Creek Railway walk is a very easy 19km walk that will take you around 7 hours in total. The track follows the 1912 Charming Creek railway, which is very flat and can be walked in very light running shoes. So many interesting things to see along the way on this walk.

Quick Facts

        • Location: South Island NZ
        • Distance: 19 kms
        • Time needed: 7 Hours
        • Difficulty: Very Easy
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: Double back
        • Elevation: 120m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: No
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: No
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights

    This walk is filled with highlights. From dark wet railway tunnels, shear granite bluffs, 146ft suspension bridge, Mangatini Falls, the Old Mumms timber mill, coal mines, rusting steam boilers, brick chimney and coal miner’s huts.

  • Track Quality

    The track follows the 1912 Charming Creek railway, which is very flat and can be walked in very light running shoes.

  • Hazards

    Steep drops down into the river. Loose rock falls around the cuttings. A torch will come in handy when walk through the tunnels.

  • Transport


  • Water

    No shortage of fresh water from the many side creeks

  • Driving Instructions

    From the main town ship of Westport, drive north on highway 67 to Karamea Drive 31.7Km to Ngakawau. Do not drive over the Ngakawau River bridge. The Charming Creek tavern is on your right, turn to the right and drive down Tyler Rd to the very end, but watch out for the coal train. If you time it wrong, you might have to wait a few minutes for the train to load up with coal. So double back to the tavern and park there. It is only a 5 minute walk to the start of the track.

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    31 Km to Westport

  • Area & Track History

    Charming Creek Railway was privately owned. It was built by Bob Watson, a saw miller to help transport timber out of the valley in 1912. In 1926 Bob Watson established the Charming Creek Westport Coal Company. Up to six coal trains used the line daily. In 1942, 69 men were employed and produced 43,385 tonnes of coal. In 1958 it was no longer economic to operate the railway and a road was built from the Seddonville end of the valley.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Charming Creek Railway Walk

    Map of walk

Points of interest along the walk

In the map above, if you zoom in on the walk, you’ll see all the following track points and their location. Each point has photos along with a description about each one.

Point 1: Ngakawau Village

The Charming Creek tavern is on your right. Turn to the right and drive into Ngakawau and down Tyler Rd to the very end. But watch out for the coal train. The track is flat and very easy to walk.

Point 2: Ngakawau River Rail Bridge

The first 10 minutes on the Charming Creek Railway walk will bring you to Charming Creek junction, have a good look around you will see the remains of the work shops etc. About 35 minutes in to the walk the first of two tunnels on the Charming Creek Railway that you will have to walk through. I thought the Charming Creek Railway was going to be a boring walk, but there is always something different to see around the next corner. The Ngakawau River Railway bridge. One hour down, two to go. So take a break and enjoy the magnificent scenery. The first bridge collapsed in 1934. The present bridge was built by the NZ and Fijian Army in 1970.

Point 3: Watson’s Timber Mill

The polluted waterfall you can see after you cross the Ngakawau bridge is from the still working Stockton coal mine. So much for clean green NZ. Into the second tunnel, but this one has a boardwalk from start to finish. When you reach the other side you will be met by two stunning over hangs. The second one even more stunning then the first. The next stop will be at a shelter where the old Watson’s timber mill once stood. Have a good look around, you might find what is left of George Watson’s house; the chimney is still visible through the scrub.

Point 4: Charming Creek Mine

When you leave the shelter the track is very flat and grassy, not as interesting as the walk up the George. At the second bridge, you might catch a strong smell of sulphur. The spring is on your left just as you walk off the bridge. There are a few old interesting relics littering the track. But we will always remember the bold little Robyn hopping close behind us, he was catching the fleeing insects we disturb. Not far now, from the rusting coal wagon to Mumms Mill is just 5 minutes, follow the sign to Charming Creek mine, past the steam winch and through the old mine workings, only 20 minutes to go. The sight of all the abandoned machinery and derelict builds will make you forget about the three hour walk. The two entrances to the mine are bricked up, how disappointing I could not find a way in to the drive.

All walks in Seddonville…

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Contact info

Charming Creek Walkway 3 Ratcliff Road, Ngakawau 7822, New Zealand

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