Published: May 31st 2012May 31st 2012
Sunrise over the West Coast
With a bit of mist and rain in the air.
GLACIERLAND TO WESTPORT
We decided to slow our pace of travel, and moved on north, stopping at a town called ROSS. There were big gold strikes here in the mid 1800s, and we went around a one hour heritage walk around the old mining area. The visitors centre will show you how to pan for gold, and you can buy pans and try out your gold prospecting for real in the local creeks. You might say all the gold will have gone, but there is a commercial mining company on the edge of town still mining for gold – AND, it it believed that there is $700 million worth of gold in the gravel under the town. The mining company wish to relocate the whole town to get access to it, but have been turned down by some of the residents. We had a walk around the old mining sites and looked for gold in the streams, but sadly didn’t find any. I can understand gold fever, I was seriously looking for some in the creeks!
On to Hokita, where we were able to get wifi access at the local library. This is a
Typical west coast view
Steep hills and rocky seas.
good town for a bit of shopping and visiting some tourist shops, including a Jade carvings factory. It wasn’t too touristy so we did a little shopping and then moved on. Greymouth was our next overnight stop. This is the largest town on the west of NZ, but due to our first heavy bit of evening rain, chose to leave checking it out until the morning. An OK town for to top up supplies, fuel, etc. We stopped at an overnight “campsite” located behind a 2Challenge” filling station. The site essentially doubled up as a used car forecourt during the day, but had electric hookup, showers and a laundry for use as a campsite by night. Very Enterprising. The owner was a very nice guy who was into classic cars. He had a Mk1 Ford Zephyr convertible but was looking for a mk2 Zodiac. As my father had a Zodiac in the old days, we had a real good natter. I would stay there again.
PANCAKE ROCKS AND BLOWHOLE. These are best seen at high tide with waves pounding in off the sea. This is one thing not to miss if
This is the MAIN west coast road - taken over by a herd of cows! I had to pull in to let them past! Roadhogs.
the conditions are right. Swirling seas and pounding waves drive the noisy blowholes. If you go there, ask yourself how does the seaweed hold on to the rocks?
CAPE FOULDWIND. Up and on to Cape Foulwind (named by Captain Cook), where we viewed a seal colony. Must have been about 30-40 seals lounging on the rocks, and one swimming in what would seem to be an impossibly rough sea. Magic – just to watch them from the viewing platform.
Onward through Westport, another good town to top up with supplies etc, and to our night stop by the Buller River. This would seem to be an excellent canoeing river, wide with a steady flow to take the effort out of paddling. Up with the larks, and then... eastward towards the mountains of the Lewis Pass and to the east coast.
There are more photos below