Mmmmm, yummy pancakes :P
Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
27Trip End Apr 12, 2009
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The first day of driving took us from Marahau to Westport, a drive that was pretty enough, but rather uninteresting. We expected the Buller Gorge swingbridge (the longest swingbridge in New Zealand) to be of interest to us, but it turned out to be a disappointment. The bridge is on private land and the owners charge a fee to cross the bridge, which is all good and fine... What we however DID find annoying was the fact that you have to go through their ticket office (and thus pay) in order to see the bridge at all. Being the chickens that we are (Martijn isn't the only one that dislikes bridges that sway when you walk across them), we wanted to first SEE the bridge and THEN determine whether we were going to cross it
So we gave this a total miss and drove onwards. Oh, and the fact that the place was filled with sandflies didn't help either... We were having a relaxing day, but those little pests made us RUN for the car ;)
The reason we decided to make Westport the stop point is because the stretch between Marahau and Hokitika is rather empty when it comes to towns and places to stay. Thankfully Westport is situated about 3 hours from Marahau and 2 hours from Hokitika AND has vital things like a gas station, food store and a motel :P. Judging by the amount of motels in the town however, all of the 6000 inhabitants must work in the tourist-industry in some manner. Which is impressive considering there isn't really anything THERE for tourists to see or do. So we gladly took the opportunity to recover further and work on our travelblog (Is everyone enjoying it still? :P).
Just like in every other place we have stayed at so far, in Westport we also had to check out before 10am. WHY this is the case everywhere, we don't know. We are used to check-out times of 11am or even noon, both of which are quite nice and comfortable for a tourist that enjoys seeing the sights and crashing into bed exhausted most evenings. But here it is 10am, meaning we have to get up at 8.30 in order to have enough time to re-pack and be half presentable before we head out.
Thus we were on the road leaving Westport rather early.
Following the coast-line towards Hokitika, we stopped in Punakaiki, known for its Pancake Rocks
As we both are quite fond of pretty and weird nature, we ended up spending a lot of time here taking many pictures of every weird and pretty little formation that we could spot. The walk that takes 20 minutes and goes past all the features therefor took over half an hour for us. And we EVEN did it a second time to enjoy the improved light conditions when the sun came out.
A little later we arrived at Hokitika and we were intending to go for a walk on the beach or even visit the glow-worms across the street, but the weather interfered. Within minutes of us arriving at the camp grounds that we were staying at it started to rain heavily (and sideways as well due to the high winds). So our evening was reduced to a trip to the food store and then dinner in our cabin... Giving us yet AGAIN time to catch up on our travelblog and postcard-writing...
This might have been our first time since arriving in New Zealand that we have had proper bad weather, and it really makes sleeping so much better :D
(The rain we had in Wellington was a light drizzle in comparison... :P)