Well, it's 03:00 and we have just returned from the Greymouth Regent showing of Lord of the Rings The Two Towers! It was, as expected, excellent and well worth staying up for and spending NZD 7! I highly recommend it!
Having filled our faces with nice things from Phil's Hot Bread Shop in Greymouth we headed up the Wild West Coast to Punakaiki to see the Pancake Rocks which are huge rock formations made of limestone and mudstone which unbeknown to scientists are formed in stacked layers. They're an impressive sight.
We followed the road to Cape Foulwind due west of Westport. A fur seal colony is resident here but the experience didn't come close to the private experience Ian and I enjoyed the other day at Cape Palliser. Here the Department of Conservation has erected a walkway 20 metres above the colony around a cliff face. This is terrific for the breeding colony below who are pretty much undisturbed by the human presence which flocks to see them. I only hope that the tourists we encountered today don't make the effort to visit Cape Palliser.
Ian abandoned his post of chauffeur at this point, choosing to rest instead, and I drove us down through the Buller Gorge, passing by Hawks Crag and the Sluice Box which is a narrow gorge. The drive took us on past Hanmer Springs, through Culverden and on to our destination Kaikoura on the east coast. The scenery throughout the journey was jaw dropping. I was awe inspired at the sight of such huge mountains, snow capped summits, big wide riverbeds, mountain after mountain! There is still plenty of green covering the land but there is a presence of many different colours here too, yellow flowers line the riverbeds pink and lilac hyacinth type flowers line the roadsides [Editors Note: I later learned that the hyacinth type flowers were lupins]. The clouds loitered in the mountains casting pastel shadows and the sun lit up the rolling hills. Everything was so picturesque. Everything is so much bigger, so vast, the valleys and gorges are on such a huge scale, the width unbelievable. It is impossible to capture the images on camera film. It is so beautiful.
Our drive from Greymouth to Kaikoura covered 457 kilometres.
Copyright 2002 Helen Fuller. All rights reserved.