After driving through the Buller Gorge our first stop and experience of the wild west coast is at Charleston. We take a short hike through lush West Coast bush checking out the dramatic headlands, crashing waves and secluded bays.
After the hike we enjoy a picnic lunch and pack up for our next hike that takes us up a spectacular limestone river canyon in Paparoa National Park. Established in 1987, this park covers more than 30,000 hectares. As well as canyons, caves lie hidden in rainforest wilderness, set between breathtaking coastal scenery and the Park’s rugged mountainous backdrop.
The first half of the trail is on a reasonably well-formed track and is relatively flat, while the second half involves multiple river crossings and sections where the riverbed itself is our route. Some boulders here can be slippery and good hiking shoes or boots are essential. Our guide teaches us how to cross rivers by linking arms with our companions. We collect firewood along the way and set up camp under the massive Ballroom Overhang, a fluviatile cave.
For those that are keen on more hiking you can join the guide and explore up a beautiful side canyon, following the stream until it disappears into a cave. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.