Charming Creek Railway Walk

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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.

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Quick Facts about this walk

  • 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

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

Summary points about this walk

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Points of interest along the walk​

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.

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What sort of walking and hiking gear will you need

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

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