Walks and Attractions in the town of Kumara
Kumara has something for everyone...
...from world-class cycle trails, short walks, historic sites, tramping, hunting and fishing to fossicking for gold.
A good place to start exploring Kumara is via the Information Panels, across the road from the Theatre Royal Hotel. They will provide you with an insight into the rich history of our town. Further panels are scattered throughout the township in a Heritage Walking Trail at key historical locations.
There are several short walks accessible from the township including Taylor's Hill (15 min loop) which provides a panoramic, elevated view of both Kumara, the magnificent Taramakau River and surrounding mountains. Payn Track is an old tram track that meanders through regenerating native bush. A short distance from the eastern road exit of Payn Track is the Historic Baths. Built in the 1930s during the Depression years, they were constructed from stones (tailings) that had been unearthed during the sluicing operations on the gold field. It was of Olympic dimensions and, at the time, was the largest swimming pool in New Zealand.
A short walk along the Kapitea water channel will take you to Londonderry Rock (signposted). This enormous 4000 tonne 'glacial erratic' was dislodged by miners while sluicing for gold. Local legend has it that when it was dislodged from its position it caused earthquake-like shudders that it stopped the clock in the post office! Londonderry Rock can also be reached via the cycle trail (watch for the signpost) from Kumara township. You will notice on This section of the cycle trail takes you past the peculiar gold rush era 'tailings'.
Kumara Cemetery (Greenstone Road) will give you a surreal insight into the boom and bust, turbulent - yet thrilling - history of Kumara. On your way back into town, don't miss the historic site of Richard Seddon's (former NZ Premier 1893 - 1906) family home.
At the Western end of town, you'll find a quaint little park equipped with a modern adventure playground for the kids. The Kumara Sports Ground is just another 100m up the road and has clean public toilets. Kumara is connected with a 4G telecommunications tower providing full, fast mobile coverage. Kumara also has a self-service 24 hour petrol station.
At night, in between drinks, be sure to check out the glow worms.
You'll find the glow worms clinging to the outer edges of disused mine shafts, just behind the Theatre Royal Hotel. On a clear night, don't forget to look up!
Due to the very low levels of light pollution, stargazing in Kumara is stellar!
The wild and wonderful Kumara Beach (Serpentine) is just 5 minutes drive from Kumara. This is the official starting location of the annual Coast to Coast adventure race.
The Kapitea Reservoir/Dillman's Dam (accessible via Stafford Loop Road) is a wonderful place to unwind amongst simply serene surroundings. There is a toilet here kindly supplied by Trustpower. Self-contained campervans and motorhomes are welcome. Freedom camping is not permitted.
A short drive further up Stafford Loop Road (towards Hokitika) will take you through the gold rush sites of Larrikins, Goldsborough, Waimea and Stafford. If you have time and energy, check out the Goldsborough Track (from Callaghans, 4 hrs) and Goldsborough, an historic gold mining area which now boasts a picturesque and popular Department of Conservation Camping Ground where you can try your luck panning for gold in the nearby creek or walk one of the many tracks in this area. Don't miss the Tunnel Terrace Walk, 2 mins drive from Goldsborough. Entry and exit points are via miners tail race tunnels and the track meanders through old gold workings.
On the Kumara-Inchbonnie Road, just before the turn-off to Taramakau Settlement, you will stumble across Greenstone. This is where gold was first discovered in 1864 and led to the West Coast Gold Rush. Some old relics remain roadside. The Greenstone Cemetery (possibly the oldest cemetery on the West Coast) is worth a look.
For those more adventurous souls, Mount French (accessible via Kumara-Inchbonnie Road) will afford weary climbers with gobsmacking views of the Tasman Sea to the West and Southern Alps to the East. Lake Brunner and the Taramakau River offer magnificent scenery and great brown trout fishing while the lower Taramakau is famous for its whitebait runs. Mitchells, a small township on the shores of Lake Brunner is 20km drive from town and offers world-class scenery. From there you can walk along the shores of Lake Brunner, through spectacular rain forrest to Bain Bay (2.5 hr return). Just past the Lake Brunner Lodge is Carew Falls, a moderate 1hr return walk. There are some exciting plans to develop a dual cycle/walkway trail from Moana to Bain Bay and on to Mitchells to link up with Kumara-Inchbonnie Road, "The Rain Forest Lake Trail".
As the West Coast Wilderness Trail runs directly through Kumara, several sections of the cycle trail are worth riding as shorter day trips from Kumara township. The videos [above] highlight two such sections.
For further information on any of the vast and varied recreational activities in and around greater Kumara...
"ask a friendly local and they'll point you in the right direction..."