The incomparable Pancake Rocks
The benefit of sunshine cannot be underestimated. It is more than a vitamin D supplement. It can lift a mood and in moderation make pale people look a far healthier colour. This was the sight that greeted us this morning.
Less than a km from our campsite was our first intended stop, the Pancake Rocks and blowhole. These incredible acts of nature seemed to have baffled the scientists and they are an amazing sight to behold. The New Zealanders have cleverly created a free to enter walkway that allows the viewer a gentle beginning and then with each new lookout your camera spins into overdrive with the subsequent vistas and close ups of the power of the sea. Below us, the symphony of the ocean echoed around the caves of rock spinning up through dark holes.
Out to sea dolphins twisted in the surf. Long beaked birds sat on top of the crows nests created by erosion and surveyed the ocean for fish. A little further along the beach, surfers attempted to tame the waves. The sun blazed down on the whole scene creating rainbows in the spray. Our senses were overloaded by all of nature on display. It was a great start to the day.
From here, it was back into the Cabana and our next stop was further on down the coast at a place called Hokitika. After our huge drive the previous day, this would surely be a walk in the park. However on arrival at the town there was a sign pointing to the left telling us that the Hokitika gorge was 33km away. Determined to see this highly recommended spot, we took the flat country road and made the journey in less than half an hour and boy was it worth it. A warm hike into the forest and we could hear the rushing water. As we reached the first lookout point we spotted the suspension bridge where two people were having a mock fight.
Their laughter lifted up toward us along with the mesmerising aqua flowing river beneath it. Somehow, these sights always put a spring in the step and we were soon feeling the swing of the bridge under our feet. Down to the waters edge we walked so that we could dangle our toes in the water that looked like it could cure any disease.
|The Hobbit is on the right!|
We then retraced our cars tread backwards towards the town and picked up a short cut along the way in our quest to make it to the mountain that afternoon. We passed the time talking about the attraction we had just seen and being grateful that we had made the small detour.
It was time for the mountains.
The beach sat beside us for most of the route placing its arm on our shoulders and telling us that the forbidding Franz Josef Glacier was alright and that we would be safe up there. To make this climb we would have to navigate our way via the Haast pass. The sign said that the road was open and we put our foot down determined to be there in a decent time. We stopped on route to take a picture of the mountains and now seemed to be surrounded by them.
Finally, we arrived at the rainforest campsite just outside the town and enjoyed the best kitchen, showers and laundry facilities of our whole trip so far. Michelle and I prepared a healthy spaghetti bolognese washed down with an even healthier glug of merlot!
The sun was still shining.