Journal of a visit to New Zealand, via Singapore

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This page last updated: 29th November 2005.
Day 9: Westland Map

Day 9 As Erica and Ian have to go off to a conference in Ashburton, we are up early. At 8 a.m. we bid them farewell and drive North to Greymouth. Our plan is to visit the famous Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki.

The road up the coast is very scenic with lots of little off-shore stacks in numerous bays. We reach the visitor centre at Punakaiki. The car-park appears to be full. A number of coaches are there as well as many camper-vans, parked by the side of the road, either side for about a half a mile. We decide not to join the crowds, but travel further on and stop at Kaipakati Point. Here a pair of weka are strutting in the carpark. One of them hides in the bushes but the other is braver and allows me to take a photograph.

We continue up the coast as far as Charleston, another old mining settlement that once boasted 94 hotels. Now there is one hotel, a motel and a camping ground. We enjoy an appetising lunch, but decide not to try our hand at underworld rafting. Heading back South again, the coastal views are different as the sea-fret lifts and the sun breaks through. Some of the sea-stacks have clumps of shrubbery growing on the top and on their landward side. We get a glimpse of the Pancake Rocks, but the carpark is just as full, so we do not stop. The coastal scenery is extremely pleasant, and we've seen blowholes in the Shetland Isles, so are not bothered about missing them.

Back in Hokitika, we use the local launderette. After a coffee we take a look in the pre-loved clothing store next to the supermarket. Christine finds a gorgeous, bright multi-coloured sweater for just $12. The town is much busier than the previous day, with many more camper-vans lining the beach, in readiness for the weekend festival.

Continuing South we stop briefly to take a look at Lake Ianthe, before arriving at Harihari. Our overnight stay is at Carrickfergus, a small farm. We share a cup of tea with Catherine, our host, who it turns out, sometimes goes Scottish country-dancing with our friend Erica. We have a very nice self-contained unit near the house, with views of the mountains. After settling in, I head off to the local store for a takeaway. I think it must be near to closing-time as the old lady running it isn't in the mood to explain the nature of unfamiliar items on the menu, so I settle for fish and chips.

After our early rise, we are ready for an early night.

Journal - Day 10 Photographs - Day 9