Monday, November 13, 2017

November 13, 2017 - Westport to Greymouth, New Zealand

We left our hotel in Westport and found a nice cafe for breakfast in town.  Great food.  They have a coffee drink down here they call a "flat white".  It's basically a latte with the foam flattened down.  Hence the name "flat-white".  It's very good, and they are everywhere.  Drip coffee is a bit hard to find.

After breakfast we headed south to a small point called "Cape Foulwind" where a lighthouse is located.  We took the 15 minute walk to the lighthouse.  Not much to see there, except a good view of the ocean.  We then drove to a point a bit further south with a sea-lion colony.  Not many of them were visible, but there were a few laying on the rocks.  Oh we heard that this road along the coast was picked by "Lonely Planet" as one of the most thrilled drives in the world.  Also on that list is Milford Sound in New Zealand.  We will be driving there in about 4-5 days, just before fly home.  Wow! 

Click here for the top 10 roads in the world

There are quite a few funky vehicles like this in New Zealand.

There are a lot of jungle-like plants here.

The lighthouse at Cape Foulweather
View from the lighthouse
There are several seals in this picture.  Can you find them?

Some of the sea birds to be found in this area.

We are a long way from home!

We then drove down to one of the main attractions on the west coast.  The "pancake rocks and blowhole" at Punakaiki.  We stopped just before the blowhole so we could hike a several hour loop trail that would take us up and over a large hill, and loop around just past the blow hole.  We would then stop at the blowhole on our way back to our car.  It was a great hike.  Quite a bit of elevation gain and almost 3 hours long.  As usual, the hiking here in New Zealand is fantastic.  The trails are well maintained, and there are usually great views and interesting plants to look at.  This trail did not disappoint.

A long suspension bridge on our hike.

Great rock formations
The trail takes you right through a hole in the rocks

Another suspension bridge
You never know what you will see when hiking 
in the back country of New Zealand.

The pancake rocks are fascinating and beautiful.  The parks department here did a great job of creating trails though this interesting terrain.  Unfortunately for us, the blowhole didn't do much because it was low tide.  It really only comes to life at high tide, and even more so when the winds are strong.  It was a calm day, at low tide, so we didn't get much of the blowhole experience.

The trail that takes you through Pancake Rocks

The sea comes right through this section.  The path is above.

Eroded limestone created these "pancake rocks"

Fantastic and interesting shoreline

Cindy descending a stairway within pancake rocks.
Can you see why they call them pancake rocks?

After the pancake rocks we had another 1.5 kilometers to walk back to the trail-head, where our car was parked.  We lucked out and found one more thing o do.  There is a large cavern here and we likely would have driven right by as it's not well marked from the road, driving 80kph, when looking at the shoreline.  However, when walking by, it was impossible to miss, so, of course, we went in.  Fortunately I always carry a small flashlight with me, and it's come in handy more than once during our travels in New Zealand.

Inside the cavern, it was pretty large and went a long ways
Trying to figure out if we can make it any further
We made it.  It opened up into a big room, but that was the end.
Exiting the cavern, back to daylight.

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