Last night’s very popular campsite in the world heritage marine park reserve of Punakaiki is, according to trip advisor, legendary for its challenging showers. The button needs to be pressed literally every ten seconds. There is much talk of this in the travelling community. Furthermore notices in the camp warned us of a possible bottleneck between 8.30 and 9.30, encouraging us to get up early and miss the rush. So of course we all got up early (6.20) and created the rush. Anyway, singled out no doubt due to my extreme age as mentioned in previous blogs, the owner invited me to use the disabled shower. No button pressing required, as presumably not always possible. You lose some, you win some.
Incidentally the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes were well worth a visit. Unusually v thin separate layers of limestone had deposited in a series of layers looking like a stack of pancakes. Earth movements mean that they are here horizontal, there vertical, covered in moss and in nesting Tara Terns, erosions allowing the tide to WHOOOOOMPH through it and spray over all visitors. Think Durdle Door x infinity, then on steroids.
Of course the site is clean, interesting and free, quietly encouraging donations. We do donate but appreciate that there is open access to everyone, independent of means. Great, isn’t it?
Early shower means early walk, so the Porarari River was selected. Two hours walk and we met only one other couple. The scenery was again wonderful. So many shades of green.
This inland route (pic above) was constructed from pebbles. Looks steep to me and must have been hard to manage with stock, carts and so forth.
After this the Fox River. Recall Marge from Hokitika asking me to remember her to the man in the cafe? Well we couldn’t find the cafe, just this van, reasoned that Marge would be no worse off if we hadn’t seen her friend, and justified not searching out the cafe by our need for coffee exceeding any other pressures.
There was some banter with another customer about getting a discount. The van man said only locals get discount at which point the penny dropped, I realised this was the cafe and asked whether knowing a local qualified for a discount, offering to show the pic of Marge. 20% discount. Result.
His name is Andrew although most people only know the dog’s name (Peanut). In between customers Andrew goes fishing. Seriously – two steps to the beach.
No idea whether he or a mate spent the previous night in this shelter but it looked well comfortable, and the mussel shells were enormous.
On the road again. To Charleston and an ‘intact’ goldmine – obviously not working but everything in place and in this land of relaxed (sensible) health and safety we were able to wander in and out of the mine tunnels, see the water race and admire glow worms.
I was struck by this vertical earth face – difficult to see but one huge layer is intact smooth pebbles. I always thought pebbles were only formed when broken off a big rock, rubbed together and accumulated on the coast, having no idea that this happened much longer ago and pebbles were deposited with all the other layers.
Lyell, now a tiny settlement boasting New Zealand’s longest swing bridge, was once Home to thousands but is also well known for The Old Ghost Road an 84km track through the mountains, previously used by settlers. We took a short walk and we’re not surprised to hear another helicopter. We were surprised to see a cafe carrying bikes swinging from it. As it landed close by k asked – the thirty somethings had cycled the track (two days, 84km) then taken the helicopter back ($164 or about £90 each). Different.
New words: grike
In Marchison for the night.