Tales from the Trail
A Treasure Trove of Discovery

The Kawatiri Coastal Trail showcases the best of the West Coast’s landscape, environment, culture and heritage. No matter how far you want to ride, if you’re ready to immerse yourself in wildlife and nature there’s a great option for every rider.

With some of the region’s most unique flora and fauna found along the Trail, every walk or ride is a great opportunity to discover and learn about new things. Wetlands, cobble and lowland forests, creeks and rivers combine to offer diverse landscapes and a habitat rich with wildlife.

Southern cinnabar polypore fungus, Pycnoporus cockiness

Keep your eyes peeled for wild and wacky hidden gems. This bright orange-red bracket fungus can measure 10 cm x 8 cm in size, and over time the intensity of the colour fades.

Found in both Australia and New Zealand, it is a white-rot decomposer of wood, and produces powerful enzymes to break down lignin and tough polysaccharides in the wood in a way that few other organisms can do as well.

Once complete the Kawatiri Coastal Trail will showcase an extensive range of flora and fauna. If you make any interesting discoveries on the Trail, we’d love to see them. You can get in touch here.

Mātātā (Fernbird) – Masters of the Undergrowth

Mātātā (Fernbird), are not only well camouflaged to hide within the tangle of Ferns, Reeds, Rushes, Ribbonwoods and Mānuka, they are experts at negotiating dense undergrowth at speed.

Some of their most vicious predators, such as Rats, Mice, Stoats and Possums are rather hopeless at penetrating such dense shrubland, and tend to choose easier ground. There are five species nationally, with just one here in the South Island. Māori regard Mātātā as being mana tohu, or wise.

The good news for Westport is that Mātātā are thriving here. At few places in New Zealand do these birds live so close to human settlement. In other parts of New Zealand, where saltmarsh and wetlands have been cleared for urban development and farming, numbers of Mātātā are low, and declining.

Their various calls were interpreted as a good or bad omen for the outcome of a future event. You will probably hear Mātātā before you see them. Listen for their distinct “u-tick” call of staccato clicks.

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