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NZ PART II

South island part 2

sunny 20 °C

it's only a cliff face

it's only a cliff face

Still on the wild west coast, we continued to travel noth to Punakaiki, the home of the 'pancake rocks', limestone rocks which have been dissolved over the millenia to look like stacks of pancakes. We stayed in a quirky little hostel/retreat in the rainforest. We walked down to the beach at sunset and watched the sun go down over the Tasman sea. Next day we did a loop walk along a river and through rain forests which gave way to alpine beech forests set against steep yellow limestone cliffs. At the hostel we met 2 kiwi filmakers of irish extraction. One named Kathleen Gallagher whose great grandfather came from Donegal in the 1800s and who walked from Christchurch to the west coast looking for gold. They were hardy men. His brother became the youngest ever NZ MP at the age of 26.

I think its over here.

I think its over here.


looped walk near Punakaiki

looped walk near Punakaiki


A bridge too far.....

A bridge too far.....

Next we travelled up the coast to the end of the paved road on the north west coast at Karamea. There we visited limestone arches and caves 15km in a dirt track where some of the Lord of the Rings was filmed. We also travelled even further north up another dirt track (we like dirt tracks...) to the start of the Heaphy Track one of NZ's Great Walks. We did a short walk to Scott's Beach where Seamus was nearly swept away by only going in up to his knees! No beach on the west coast is safe. All very beautiful but very dangerous and if that wasn't enough you've got the godforesaken sandflies which are a total nightmare. They look like fruitflies but boy can they bite. They come out in the evening and when there is no breeze and they can drive you to distraction. And they did! They are mainly on the west coast but they seemed to follow us inland a fair distance too!

An evening stroll on the beach.

An evening stroll on the beach.


of course I'll catch you!!!!!

of course I'll catch you!!!!!


sunlight coming through the rain forest canopy.

sunlight coming through the rain forest canopy.


A limestone arch 49m x 36m 200m. impressive.

A limestone arch 49m x 36m 200m. impressive.


A mirrored tarn lake.

A mirrored tarn lake.


flat out on a 5 hour hike!

flat out on a 5 hour hike!


A beautiful beach all to myself.

A beautiful beach all to myself.


There are easier ways to get a tan!

There are easier ways to get a tan!

We had been advised to visit the Abel Tasman National park in the very north of the south island. We again drove to the end of the road in this area to a village called Marahau where we stayed in another little cabin. Next day we drove more northward via an inland route which was very zig zaggy and mountainous. We had one of the few chill out days here on Tata Beach with thankfully no sandflies. Next day we set out a a day walk on the Abel Tasman great walk. We caught a water taxi as far as Bark Bay and then started our hike back. The coastline here is gorgeous. Covered in trees with little coves and beaches nestled in between the hills. Very like Italy or Croatia. The path runs along the coastline wher you get breathtaking views of the bays and mountains. This area is famous for kayaking and there were lots of people taking sea kayaks along the coast for a few days and camping overnight. By this stage Colm was striding it out and loving the walks and the scenery. Needless to say a few beers were also had along the way!
A little bit of heaven.

A little bit of heaven.


what a splendid little bay.

what a splendid little bay.


Now this is the life.....

Now this is the life.....

Soon our time here came to an end and we had to head south for Christchurch and the airport. We headed back down south and stayed along the shores of lake Brumner before crossing from west to east via Arthur's Pass, a high mountain pass, enclosed by steep imposing mountains. Unfortunately the day was very wet (our second wet day in NZ) but we still got an idea of the grandure of the area and what it must have been like for the first people who made the crossing.

In Christchurch we checked into our hostel or should I say jailhouse. No, we were not thrown in there (having been stopped for speeding earlier that day!) but went in of our own accord. The jailhouse is an ingenious use of an old jail which closed in 1999. Now all the cells are done up and everything is painted white and is spotlessly clean. We had 2 more nights in C Church so we explored the Akaroea peninsula the next day and spent most of the last day trying to pack all of our stuff into 3 bags between the 3 of us, including all the free camping gear that we had picked up along the way in NZ. Nighmare but we managed it.

We left NZ having had a great stay. We were sorry to leave such a beautiful country and we would highly recommend a visit is you can make it some time.
2 inmates get time off for good behavior!

2 inmates get time off for good behavior!


The bad boy!!

The bad boy!!


Banged up abroad.

Banged up abroad.


You can't handle the truth!

You can't handle the truth!

Posted by Loodersatlarge 19:19 Archived in New Zealand Tagged to christchurch punakiki

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