Jade country and goodbye west coast.

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October 10th 2008
Published: October 20th 2008
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Thursday 9th October

After an early start we were in Hokitika just as the shops were opening. Before we went into town we stopped at the river entrance and looked back over the ranges to the east. The cloud had lifted a little and we could see some snow-capped mountains. On a clear day apparently you can see all the alps including Mt Cook. Just doesn't seem that we are going to see this icon on this trip!

Hokitika is known for its NZ jade, originally called greenstone by the Maoris, and there are many shops selling the end product. After looking through many of them (as Judy tends to do) we had chosen a birthday present for Rags' mum and a pendant for Judy. We then came across a shop where customers are free to choose their own pattern and then under the supervision of the Maori owner they can make their own piece of pau or jade jewellery. If we had come across him earlier and had more time we would have tried this.

Up the coast on a flat straight bit of road for a change to Greymouth. This town did nothing for us, it looked dreary and run-down. Its only claim to fame from what we could see was that they had raised the embankment of the river to prevent flooding as had happened in the past. We did go to Monteiths Brewery to check out their tour but rather than go on one later in the day we bought a top for Rags and a 6 pack of their beers to try out. As there was nothing else to keep us here we set off toward Westport.

Near Punakaiki the coastline was very scenic although today the seas were very rough with strong squalls of rain hitting the coast. In a fine spell, we stopped at Punakaiki and looked at the Pancake Rocks and Blowhole. The rocks were most interesting with layer upon layer of rock, carved into different shapes by the ocean being battered by the sea. The blowhole wasn't too impressive, gets better at high tide apparently but that wasn't for another 3-4 hours and although Judy was happy to wait Rags wanted to keep moving.

We continued on along the twisting road until we reached the southern side of Cape Foulwind, so named by Capt Cook because of poor sailing winds here. Here we were fortunate to see a colony of fur seals where there was a bit of movement on their part with a couple of adults fighting and some pups playing. A memorable and riveting sight.

As there was sign prohibiting overnight stopping we continued to the northern side of the cape finding a grassy spot at the carpark to the lighthouse. Another camper was parked there too, they disappeared for a while (we think down the road to the pub for dinner) and then returned a little while later.

Friday 10th October

Judy leapt out of bed (sort of) at 0700 and went for a jog up the hill to the lighthouse and then along the coast towards the seal colony. She turned back just before it as the ground became muddy. Even so, she managed over 5km return and felt great for the effort. She reported that there were magnificent views to be had over the bay. Meanwhile Rags had a cup of tea, had breakfast, washed the evening and morning dishes, dismantled the bed, had a shower, and was having his first cup of coffee when she returned. Leaving her to it he walked up to the lighthouse and a little beyond, returning to find Judy ready to go.

Just a short distance away was Westport, a small fishing town. We went to the quay where there were a few fishing boats, then parked at New World shopping centre. Before going in we walked up the main street and on finding an internet cafe read our mail and answered a few. At New World we entered with the intention of buying a loaf of bread but left with no bread and a basketful of goodies including a few baked goodies that ended up looking better than they tasted. Morning tea and lunch were different.

From here we headed for Marahua, winding our way up and down through the mountain passes. Some of the scenery was wonderful to see with the wide Buller River pouring down through gorges lined with pines and scrub. Reminded us a little of the Colorado River when we were there.

A lunch of smoked chicken on fresh focaccia was had at a lookout from where we could see we were surrounded by mountains, many snowcapped. very picturesque. as we approached the coast
Speights in GreymouthSpeights in GreymouthSpeights in Greymouth

Judy couldn't interest Rags in a tour but she did interest him in a sampling pack for later...
the weather appeared to brighten and the landscape became more spring like with flowers bloomng in gardens and hops, vegetables and grape being grown along the way. the climate here is apparently more temperate so we hope the fine weather will continue.

After checking in at the Marahua Holiday Park we did our washing and Judy washed her hair before walking along the beachfront to the information centre. This was an unmanned centre at the entrance to the cape walk, but it had lots of information and gave us some ideas of what to do tomorrow. We intend catching the Abel Tasman Aqua Taxi from here to Anchorage and then walking the 10km or so back along the coast. Just a taste of the whole 50 plus km walk but it will be enough for us!

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15



This little weka, like a moorhen, entertained us at the carpark at Punakaiki.
Buller RiverBuller River
Buller River

A tight turn in the river.

20th October 2008

Jade Country
Gee, just goes to show what lying out in a fierce sun does to one's skin !! That bloke certainly never put enough sun-screen on !!Love Mum

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