Submitted by Katie Smith
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Front country - easily accessible
Out and Back
This is a short but stunning little out-and-back along the Nile River. Before you start, wander down to the river flat and have a look at the limestone bluffs. At the right time of year these are lined with blooming rata.
Head into the start of the track - this follows the general direction of the light rail tracks used for a commercial caving trip, but with a dedicated footpath that criss-crosses this several times. At present [April 2019] one short section of track on the river side of the rail line is washed out - just follow the rail here (there is plenty of space and little used). You will reach a clearing with a signpost - if you want to have another look at the river follow the short track to the bank marked "Nile River and Changing Area" - otherwise take the right-hand turn marked "Metro Cave".
You will cross the river on a swing bridge, then soon after this the track heads up several sets of steps to the cave entrance. If you want to go into the cave you need a DoC permit (or can go on a commercial trip with the caving company based in Charleston), so just enjoy the view across to the bluffs on the far side, before heading back down the way you came. If you want to make this run longer, Darkies Terrace is a quiet road and pleasant to run on - this adds about 4km each way. It is also possible to park about 1.5km along it at the sign to Argyle Track, and add this on too if you like!.
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Features of interest
Stunning limestone bluffs, a cave entrance at the end of the track, lush West Coast bush
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 10%
Moderate Single Track: 40%
Easy Single Track: 50%
Turn off onto Darkies Terrace heading inland from Charleston. Follow the road about 4km to the end - at a split take the right hand turn marked "Paparoa Access" with a DoC sign. Park at the end of the road
Plenty of parking, no public transport
Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
The river is never far from the track and provides good drinking water
Muddy after rain
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