Aly Duff and her family have been lucky enough to call Westport home for the past five years. A keen adventurer, Aly is often joined by her husband Mike and their son Harris (7) avidly exploring the West Coast and beyond. When time and circumstances have permitted, the curious trio have also enjoyed visits from family and friends in New South Wales, introducing them to the latest Sections of the Trail.
When the family first arrived in Westport, Harris was just a toddler and the Pūwaha Section was just opening and it was an easy walk to undertake with little legs. These days Harris loves to keep up to date with the progress of the new Sections, and is waiting impatiently to explore the next bit.
We asked Aly about her experience on the Trail, what are Harris’s best bits, and why she is encouraging visitors from further afield to ensure the Kawatiri Coastal Trail is on their list.
Photo credit: @adventuring_south on Instagram – Omau
Which parts of the Trail have you ticked off?
Although we do have aspirations to ride all of the Trail as a family one day, we can most often be found walking. We love to walk! We have explored most of the currently open Sections of the Trail on foot.
What was your favourite place when exploring the Trail?
A single favourite part of the Trail is too difficult to choose! We actually love that the different Sections take us through such diverse environments and elevations, enabling us to see so much of the stunning West Coast scenery. Harris especially loves the wooden boardwalks and suspension bridges. He was very excited to spy an eel in the river from the bridge at Charleston!
Photo credit: @adventuring_south on Instagram – Cape Foulwind
What memory of the Trail stays with you most?
So far … walking the Omau Section of the Trail just after it opened. We decided to begin from the Lighthouse carpark, and walk to Tauranga Bay in time to capture the setting sun. The golden light coming through the cabbage trees and ferns as we walked, and then the sunset over the beach was just breathtaking. How spectacular are West Coast sunsets!
How did you and Harris find the Trail terrain? Would you recommend the Trail to other families with young kids in tow?
Although we do mostly walk, seven year old Harris has no trouble at all with the Trail. The surface and gradient makes for an easy and fun adventure, with just enough dips and downhill sections to make it lots of fun!
Photo credit: @adventuring_south on Instagram
Some travellers might consider the West Coast off the beaten track. Why would you encourage people to put it on their list?
The Trail is more than worth the visit! It enables visitors to experience a snapshot of the incredible West Coast natural beauty. Taking you along and over waterways, beside the sea, through rainforests and open spaces, and providing historical and cultural information along the way. We feel so fortunate to have access to such a remarkable local feature and look forward to the opening of each new Section.
In addition to the Trail are all of the other adventures to be had along the West Coast from top to bottom. I think we have experienced most of them many times, and those we haven’t are definitely on our To Do list!