Tales from the Trail
Underworld Adventures

Ticking destinations off the list has become incredibly easy with smart phones, the internet, google maps, and APPs. We can research options, book cheap flights and accommodation for the first few nights, and everything else can be taken care of once we arrive.

With Summer upon us, and as New Zealanders look to adventure in their backyard, it’s an ideal time to plan a trip. Many of New Zealand’s Must Do’s are found on the West Coast. So why not stay and play longer in this magical region, and explore some of the additional attractions and activities found just North or South of Westport.

With this in mind, we caught up with Aidan Schurr, General Manager for Underworld Adventures. Based at the Adventure Centre and Café in Charleston, they offer memorable journeys into the enormous limestone caves of the Paparoa National Park.

Running a number of Tours for the aged, families, young or fit adventurers, there’s an opportunity for everyone to experience this subterranean world, usually only visited by skilled adventurers.

The most popular activity is Underworld Rafting. During the four hour adventure, visitors experience spectacular formations, fun rapids on the river and the most incredible display of GlowWorms imaginable.

Have you ridden or walked the Trail?  What is it you love most so far?

Yes! I’ve ridden the stretch from Westport to past Carter’s Beach several times with my family.  We’ve also walked the section from here at Charleston through to the spectacular new suspension bridge over the Nile River. It’s all just so stunning. I love the attention to detail from the trail-building crew, so it’s not just about pushing a track through, but actually making the trail feel like it belongs.

What is it for you that makes the Kawatiri Coastal Trail special?

The sheer variety of terrain that it traverses, in such a comparatively short distance. From river to beach, to coastal cliffs, mature forest and river gorge. It really showcases the best of the Coast in a single journey.

Do you have a favourite Section of the Trail and why?

Definitely the section from Charleston township down to the suspension bridge. You get to see an old gold mining tunnel, an exposed coal seam and other remnants of that bygone era. Then you’re rewarded with the most incredible view when you pop out at the bridge.

What plans do you envisage for Underworld Adventures once the full Trail is open late 2022?

We’re hoping to expand our interpretation and information on the rich history of Charleston. I think visitors will be just amazed at some of the incredible stories to be told of our area. I expect we may see a lot more drop-in visitors to our café here, as it functions as a staging area for visitors both starting and finishing the Trail. Hopefully some of them then plan a return visit to the Coast to come through one of our amazing tours. Either way, it will be fantastic to see more people here in Charleston, both on foot and on their bikes, enjoying this wonderful environment.

What benefits do you believe the Trail will bring to your business, Westport and the region as a whole?

For us in Charleston, it will help cement the township as a destination in its own right. We’re looking forward to seeing an upswing in other businesses and facilities basing themselves here as visitor numbers rise. For Westport and the region, it promises to become a genuine Must-Do activity nationally and internationally. I hope and expect it to directly bring additional visitors into the region as word spreads. We will all benefit from that!

What aspect of the Trail’s completion excites you most?

I can’t wait to hear the stories from all the visitors who come through. The things they’ve seen and the people they’ve met as they walked and biked the Trail. Every journey will be unique in its own way, and that’s part of the joy of such a special Trail.

Where are you hoping to adventure next?

For our next mini-adventure we’re going to head up to the Ballroom campsite at the Fox River for a night, to test out our new tents. Beyond that, we’re planning on walking the Queen Charlotte Walkway as a family in late Summer. We can’t wait! There’s so much amazing stuff right here on our doorstep that it’s sometimes hard to choose.

You can find more information about Underworld Adventures, the Tours and how to Book here.

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