Punakaiki to Marahau

Trip Start Jan 22, 2013
Trip End Mar 18, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Woke up to a drizzle this morning. Drove to the Punakaiki National Park and hiked out to the Pancake Rocks.  This is something that we haven't seen anywhere before.  These rock formations are actually built up into layers of limestone rather than created by the water and sand wearing away the layers.  Fascinating. 

Then we headed north along the coast almost to Westport and then inland thru the Buller River Gorge. Another beautiful aquamarine colored river in a fairly narrow valley.  We do about 40-50 mph on these winding roads with curves at 10-15 mph. It took us 5 hrs to do about 160 miles.

We’ve picked up a day in our travels so now we’re in Marahau.  We’re right next door to the Abel Tasman National Park.  This is another one of the highlights of the whole trip.  They have miles of nice walking trails along the Tasman Sea, and kayaking along the coast.  Our first sight in this village was of a dozen tractors with boat trailers driving thru the low tide on the beach.  They were going out to pick up the water taxi boats.  www.abeltasmancentre.co.nz.  At low tide the water is probably 500 ft out from the shore so that’s all beach they drive on to get out to the boats in deep enough water.

While I was barbecuing our lamb tonight there was a guy cooking a steak.  He was talking to his 2 small kids and I asked him if he was German.  Nope.  Dutch.  We had a nice conversation about their 7 weeks in NZ and he told us about a nice beach we might visit.  And I thought I could tell the difference between Dutch and German.  Oh well.  We also chatted with a 75 yr old who is 3rd generation from Christchurch.  He is an amateur geologist so he talked a lot about the earthquake situation in CC.  Evidently they didn’t really have a problem until the last few years.  Besides buying earthquake insurance, in their utility payments to the city council, yes the city council, they also pay for earthquake insurance.  The "council" payments covers the first $100,000 of loss, and then their insurance covers the rest.  I think he said 6,000 homes had to be abandoned in the city area.  His will have to be raised a meter with a new foundation. 

We signed up to go on an all day walk and guided kayak trip tomorrow.  
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