After Greymouth, we drove north towards Westport along the beautiful west coast. We had lots of beautiful views of the coastline including some nice rocks out at sea near sandy beaches, and big cliffs and mountains right up to the sea in places. There were several very curvy roads along the way.
We eventually got to a famous location called the Pancake Rocks and blowholes. Here a collection of rocky cliffs are made up of a unique combination of rock layers of limestone and mud which literally look like stacks of pancakes. They have been carved over the centuries by the sea and the interplay of sea and light is beautiful. The seas were very calm today and it was not high tide, so we didn’t see the blow holes in action. But, I will put up some photos of this beautiful place later. Definitely worth the stop and the short 20 minute walk!
We then continued north and took a detour to go to a famous point called Cape Foulwind, west of Westport, where a seal colony is located. We took the short walk around the point and saw the sea lions. We watched them play for a while from one lookout point while another group of people were at another point. We then walked towards the other point and suddenly someone recognized us. It was another pair of boaters from our Pacific crossing! They are a couple who were with us at the big lunch group in Bloody Mary’s on Bora Bora. And, we saw them again in Vava’u during the regatta. I couldn’t remember their names, but I found out later it was Caper and Maud of s/v Sueno Azul. Anyway, we found out they had continued to Australia and sold their boat. They are now traveling the rest of Oceania (New Zealand, and next the Cook Islands) before heading home. Her parents were visiting with them now and so we parted ways as they continue their journey (without a boat).
We then drove to Carter’s Beach and stayed at a campground there. There was a nice beach about 500 meters away, but we were too tired to walk out there. We just made some dinner and did some Internet and reading before bed.
The next day we drove all the way to Nelson. We saw the Buller Gorge and diverted to St. Arnaud and did a walk at Lake Rotoiti. But, we pretty much drove all day through the middle of the northern part of the island to get to Nelson. Nelson is on the north coast of the south island. Nelson felt more crowded than Christchurch (before the quake). Although the city doesn’t have big highrises, there seemed to be larger suburb communities with lots of popular stores. It is also a popular port and we saw the marina that some of our boating friends had gone to. We didn’t see any familiar boats when we drove by though.
On Tuesday, we decided to drive to Golden Bay. I’ll write about this in the next post.