So we awoke, braeakfasted and were off. Excited to be heading to the West Coast. We knew it was going to be a big day. Originally we were going to stay at Westport (one of my Mums from storytime had mentioned that her husband came from there) But after speaking to a man at Kaikoura on our 2nd morning while on our walk ( and when asked what was there "...er u can do a tour of the coal mine...") we decided to head to Punnikiki. We actually dragged the theermas out and readied ourself for a snack on the way..I mean we were going into the wilds of the west coast. By looking at the map there was not a lot along the way..
So we were off..I really wasn't sad to be leaving Blenheim. I felt it didn't really have a distinctive NZ feel..(whatever that may be) we started to drive. Quite quickly we left the valley behind us and were into the mountains. We stopped at an information spot near/on Lake Rotoiti and spoke with the ranger there. O my gosh..it was like pulling teeth. He certainly was not forth coming with information.He did tell us that there were 5 Kiwis lived around the lake and no it did not snow there (where the itag place was) but did a bit further up. We decided to go and have a look at the lake. I walked (a mere 3 min stroll..all downhill) and Al got the car. O my gosh it was FREEZING!!! We met up and decided to have a coffee (aggrrhh NO COFFEE) stupid me..and no teaspoon. You can see I do not do the take along coffee very well. Anyway tea did..sort of. We had a black swan (which I must admit were quite numerous in NZ and I was constantly singing the ami add 'a little bird told me that u loved me') and ducks galore to share our morning tea while we huddled in the car. A delightful view..Photos included (i hope)
Then it was off again.. We came across an accident (a huge semi had rolled) and that held us up for about 30 mins. We were lucky it could have been way longer. Out came the trusty thermos again and I went for a walk and talked to a guy who lived in the town (Murchison) funny guy..had a sticker on his car which said "JUST BUILD A BLOODY BRIDGE AND GET OVER IT!!" For some reason he reminded me of my brother in law Gary Smith.. Wonder if Gary has relos in NZ>
Soon we were back on the road. My friend who I had been talking too told me to imagine Buller gorge (where we were now driving) covered in snow. It would be magic.
We arrived in Westport after plenty more 1 laned bridges, v narrow roads, windy roads, spectacular sceneary. We were hungry but Wesport offered little in grab and eat. We wanted to visit cape Foulwind as we had heard that the seals were there. We ended up grabbing sandwiches from the local new world supermarket.
At Cape Foulwind, a fairly desolate and aptly named place we went for a 20 min walk to see the seals. Far better at Kiakoura.but enjoyable still. When we got back to the car a weka ( a west coast local flightless bird) tried to join me in the car. Al thought it hillarious or maybe it was my reaction 'what is it..what is it'
Then we were off to Punikiki and the pancake rocks. By now it was starting to drizzle..but the drive to Punnikiki was amazing. Very rugged but awesome.
The pictures are the weka at Cape Foulwind AFTER it had scared me, the rugged West Coast, Me at cape Foulwind (note all the clothes) Alan at Cape Foulwind, The beautiful view at Lake Rotoiti.
So we continued onto Punakaiki and found amazing accommmodation right on the beach. It was an eco lodge http://www.punakaiki-resort.co.nz/accommodation.aspx and as it was already 4pm we headed straight over to the Pancake rocks and blowhole. We had missed the best time to see them (which was about 2pm) but we went anyway as there was noway we were going at 2AM and we wouldn't be staying another day. We parked and encountered more Wekas..then off we went. I don't have pictures as all my photos were video. They were way impressive . I have included a web picture.
Unfortunatly it was raining while we were checking out this amazing feature and by the time we got back to the car we were wet and cold..Freezing really, so we went to the local tavern. All we wanted was somewhere warm, dry and guess what thats what we got..WOW so great. A fire, friendly people, a dog lying in front, 2 bubblies (fraise) for me, some new beer (more different ones ) for Al and some little nibbles and I was "goneskies" back to the resort and into bed. A big day, a long day but a fantastic one!!