Walking the Old Coach Road Track in Arthur's Pass
My partner and I recently visited Arthur Pass for the day and while there we took the opportunity to walk the Old Coach road near Greyneys Corner. This is a remnant of the old stagecoach road from Christchurch to Greymouth. Most of the rest of the track became SH73 this is a piece that was bypassed and cleared so that people could see what the old stage route looked like.
|Interpretive board showing the course of the Old Coach Road Track at Greyneys|
It is a nice wee track and well worth the 20 minutes it takes to do the loop from the car-park, along the hillside and then back all within the confines of the forest.
|Map of the area: Greyneys is the start point for many tracks in the area..|
Greyneys car park is the start point for a number of tracks: the Old Coach Road, Edwards Hut, Mingha-Deception Track and the section of the Te Araroa through Arthur's Pass National Part.
Greyneys Picnic Area and Day shelter
My partner Karen and I were up in Arthur's Pass to walk the Punchbowl Falls Track, I have been there many times but it was the first visit for Karen. On the way back to Christchurch we stopped and walked the 20 minute Old Coach Road Track near Greyneys car park.
Greyneys used to be a very useful camp-site for those people tramping the Mingha-Deception Route or attempting the trip to the Hawdon Valley via Edwards Hut. DOC have now banned camping here probably because of all the vandalism that happened to the facilities. It is also much closer to SH73 since the road widening near here making it a less desirable place to camp.
|The picnic area at Greyneys Corner, Arthur's Pass National Park|
I camped here a couple of times back in the 1980's and 1990's and always found it a nice spot to stop for a night. It is a bit of a pity it is no longer a camp-site but it is still an excellent spot to stop for a picnic.
|The Greyneys Picnic area day shelter......interpretive board...toilet...|
|...and a view of the inside of Greyneys day shelter|
There is a fireplace in the day shelter at Greyneys and plenty of wood in the surrounding forest although I am not sure if DOC want you using it on the fire. If you do use it just make sure it is fully out before you leave the area.
Walking the Old Coach Road Track, Greyneys Corner
The start of the track is not well sign posted but it is the obvious track at the eastern end of the picnic area. The track is flat to start with and then ascends for about 20 meters to get up to the level of the Coach Road. The whole track is very gentle and easy to walk...great for kids and even the less fit of us.
|The Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass starts from the Greyneys picnic area|
|The short 20 metre climb to get to the level of the Old Coach Road Track|
|on the Eastern ascent of the Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass:|
Once you reach the track it is a flat easy walk along a classic benched track built for horses and carts. The waking is very easy with only one or two small wet spots to cross...with all the fine weather we have been experiencing these last two months the ground was dry.
|Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass: starting the long sidle along the side of the hill|
It was cool under the trees and there is a surprising amount of bird life along the track. We saw some Wrens, fantails and I think a Weka which we disturbed.....if it really was a Weka it would be the first I have ever seen in Arthur's Pass National Park!!!
|The original track is much wider than the newer foot bridges, Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass|
|Greyneys car-park area just visible through the trees , Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass|
|Descending down towards the western end of the Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass:|
|Thin forest in a regenerating cut over area along the Old Coach Road Track|
You sidle along the side of the hill for about 500 meters before descending back down to ground level alongside SH 73. The track used to be fully within the forest but the recent road widening at Greyneys Corner means a 200 meter section of the track is now in the open.
|Wind fall damage in the forest along the Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass|
|You can easily see this was once a coach road....Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass|
|A small water fall crossing the Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass|
|Fixed bridge over a small stream along the Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass|
There were some very pretty small white flowers along the track as well as some dense stands of fern in the darker wetter sections.
|Some pretty white flowers growing alongside the Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass|
There is a track junction towards the western end of the track, there is a short 100 meter section of additional track to the left, and a descending track heading down towards the highway.
|Track junction on the Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass|
As we were unsure where the left hand track lead we followed the path down the hill. I will come back the next time I am up here and take some photos of the loop we missed out.
|Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass: the start of the extra loop|
|Descending down to the highway on the western end of the Old Coach Road Track|
|Looking west towards the loop of track we missed: Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass|
|the Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass, heading alongside SH73 in the forest|
You are about 30 meters away from the road on the flat sections of this track, the noise of the cars is a bit intrusive but not a real concern. I believe DOC intend to plant some new trees along this section now that the road widening is finished.
|The Old Coach Road Track running next to SH73|
|Heading back into the forest on the way to Greyneys Picnic Area|
|Raised board-walk over one of the small streams along the Old Coach Road Track, Arthur's Pass|
The track deposits you at Greyneys car park, the western entrance to the track is just past the long drop toilets DOC have provided for the site.
|The long drop toilet at the Greyneys car-park/Old Coach Road Track|
|The other end of the Old Coach Road Track at Greyneys car park|
As you can see from the sign camping is no longer allowed at Greyneys Corner. Since the recent road widening in the area the old camping area is right next to SH73 and less attractive as an overnight destination.
|Sign put up by DOC to discourage over night camping|
Given the distance from Arthur's Pass village and the small number of rangers working there I would imagine the car-park fills up with illegal freedom campers every night. The day we were there there were two vans parked up looking like they were getting comfortable.
A great we walk if you are ever going to or from Arthur's Pass Village, make sure you stop and check it out...