The Magnificent Coal Creek Falls

A short drive from my home, just 5 minutes’ drive North of Greymouth, lies one of the West Coasts greatest hidden gems - the Coal Creek Falls Track.

Getting there isn’t hard, but there’s not a lot of signage, so it can be easily missed if you’re passing though. Once you come into Runanga, you want to turn right down Seddon Street and right into Ballance Street. There is a car-park at the end of Ballance Street right next to the entrance.

I’ve done this walk many times, but this was the first time taking my son Otavio, so it was exciting taking him along. I inherited Otavio as my son when I married my wife Sara from Brazil. Otavio hasn’t seen much of his hometown yet, so we try and make a habit of getting out every one or two weeks and exploring different parts of the West Coast.


At the start of the track, we were greeted with a wanted poster for the South Island kokako bird. The Mōhua Investments Ltd and The Morgan Foundation are offering a reward of $10,000 (NZD) for information resulting in confirmation that the South Island kōkako is still alive! Knowing this, we were all on the lookout.

The Coal Creek falls track is around 3.6 kilometers return, and takes around an hour to complete, the path is well maintained and very easy to walk. From the start of the track, you'll descend slowly down the Coal Creek valley. As you get closer to the bottom of the valley the terrain changes from a gravel path to a sandy path which follows the riverbed as you continue on.

Beautiful and Secluded

The Coal Creek Falls Track is usually quite secluded, and offers the perfect opportunity for a romantic stroll or a nice peaceful walk. Along the way you’ll cross a few small bridges, about halfway you’ll pass a bench if you want to sit down for a rest. The path is surrounded in mixed beech-podocarp trees and the sound of bird life is usually very evident. We had a friendly fantail follow us through a lot of the track which Otavio found very amusing.

The Coal Creek Falls Track makes and excellent running track if you enjoy running like I do. My best time was just over 7 minutes to the falls, and 8 minutes back to the car park.

Getting close to the end you can hear the sound of rushing water just before climbing over the final hump before the beautiful Coal Creek Falls reveals itself in all its spender. During the summer months this make a great place to cool off, but since it’s getting close to winter here in New Zealand, I wasn’t brave enough to get in.

My beautiful wife!
Worth the Stop
Me and Otavio

The Coal Creek Falls has to be one of my favourite short walks to do on the West Coast, so make sure if you’re passing though Greymouth make sure to check it out, its well worth the stop.

During our walk we searched high and low for the South Island kōkako, however we had no such luck this time, but maybe you will!

I hope I’ve inspired you to explore a little more of this fantastic region, and I’ll catch you next time on our next family adventure. Make sure to leave a comment if there's anywhere you would like us to go.



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511 State Highway 6,

Coal Creek, Greymouth

0800 669 372


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