Published: April 5th 2008March 24th 2008
We began an early morning journey down the spectacular State Highway 6 that stretches 435kms along the rugged Tasman shoreline from Westport in the north to the Haast Juncyion in the south. The road winds through a diverse series of landscapes which are just breathtaking: fertile farmland and scrubby bush, sparsely populated towns and deserted goldfields, the lush green of the rain forests and the snow of the Southern Alps.
We went to Cape Foulwind and Tauranga Bay where we had a chance to see one of New Zealand's largest seal colonies which was incredible to see. At this point we were at New Zealands closest part to Australia (although you can't actually see it!).
We took a series of walks that day which really demonstrated to us how varied the country's wildlife and terrain really is. This is even more evident on the South Island.
After the walk that led us to the seals we took a walk through lush rainforest set bewteen limestone cliffs in Paparoa National park which then led into another walk into the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes. The pancake rocks are a series of stratified limestone stacks which, over many thousands of
years, have been eroded to give the effect of giant piles of neatly stacked pancakes. Another prominent feature is the blowholes that, at high tide or in heavy weather, throw up columns of dazzling spray. This was really cool to watch!
We eventually made it to Lake Mahinapua where we met the oldest bar man and hostel owner in New Zealand. His name is Les Lisle and he is in his mid eighties and has a great big bushy beard! That night we all got involved in the famous 'Poo party' in the hostel's bar. It is a kiwi experience tradition and the hostel has been holding it every night for years. At the end of the party they take a polaroid of all the participators. The bar was covered from top to bottom in the numerous photos from over the years.
Our theme was bin bags. The Kiwi bus usually lets you choose a theme during the journey and then drops you at a fancy dress warehouse to pick out a costume but due to it being Easter Sunday we had to be a little bit more innovative. We thought we'd been very creative with our idea
of fairies and were certainly very colourful but we did have minimal bin bag coverage as opposed to the winner who was covered head to toe in bin liner and had come as a pint of guiness! (we were given white and black liners) Another notable costume was a lady who had made a top hat, quite stylish dress and cane to boot!
Nevermind, we all looked very colourful! The best thing was the end of the party when we took a five minute stroll down to the beach and carried on the party. This, again, beats a sloppy late night overpriced kebab / fried chicken product. Does make you wonder why it is you don't live in New Zealand!
There are more photos below