Well, interview is over and I’ve got a day off before a full weekend of work! I had hoped to share more of my trip with my readers sooner, but alas, here we go again. When I last left off, Andrew and I had finally made it to the south island and meandered around Nelson a bit. Where do we go from here? How about west…
Leaving Nelson after a morning hike and breakfast downtown we went west towards Westport, a small town which started as a port town due to some coal mining in the area. Our main draw? Seals.
The drive to Westport from Nelson took us through some stunning bush and mountains. Sometimes over them, sometimes around them, and always, always winding.
Not having fallen off any cliffs, nor having had any rocks crush our vehicle, we ended up in Westport after several hours. We rode over to Cape Foulwind, yep, that’s it’s name, and got out of the car, stretched our legs and took a deep lungful of salt tinged air. Ahhh! Just a little ways along a short path from where we parked we were told we’d find the Tauranga Bay Seal Colony. We found the spot and had a blast observing the young seals play, the older seals relax in the sun and some crazy seals swimming, or more accurately, get tossed about in the rough waves.
After getting our seal fill for the day, we continued on down south along the west coast. Before we got far we stopped at one of the best pizza places I’ve been to in New Zealand. Per a glowing recommendation from my guidebook, and kind of far from anything, Jack Gasthof’s was some of the best food we had on our journey. Run by a couple from Berlin, Jack, a typical older male who makes crappy jokes but fantastic pizza, was worth the wait and I’d highly recommend stopping here if you’re “in the area”. They also run a small bar and have a few rooms and campsites, but we were just passing through.
From here, Andrew and I planned to drive down to the glaciers. A long drive south over many hours, we did make a few stops to snaps some pictures and took other pictures on the go. I even got proof that there was straight-ish road!
About halfway along Andrew and I stopped at the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes. Hmm. What are these? I could describe them, but I think photo’s do them better justice.
The rock formations were formed 30 million years ago, but the exact method of their formation is a bit unknown. Sadly, the rocks are deteriorating slowly due to the external elements, but there sure were plenty to see. A very popular tourist destination, the path to get to the rocks was well maintained and it was a fabulous pit stop. In fact, we even saw a weka wishing us a fond farewell from the carpark. Aww!
So the rest of the journey south along the coast was just beautiful! We drove and drove and drove past gorgeous beach after crashing wave after stunning landscape. There were numerous one way bridges, including the walled one pictured to the right. Scary! And as night neared, we couldn’t get enough of looking out the window. The colors in the sky mimicked the most stunning watercolor, awash in beautiful pinks, purples, and blues with a smattering of yellow and orange. Every view was simply stunning. While no photo could ever capture the beauty, I’ll leave you with some severely lacking pictures of beaches and bush.