The (north) West Coast

The north part of the West Coast was just as beautiful as the southern half of it.  Day 1 was spent driving through Arthur’s Pass up to Greymouth and on to Westport.  I didn’t spend much time in Greymouth but I did walk along the flood wall for a bit and read about the history of that wall and why it was built.  After that I continued north along the  Great Coast Road toward Punakaiki were I stopped at the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.  These rock formations are definitely a stop on anyones tour around New Zealand.  The detail that you are able to see within these formations is very defined and really does look like a bunch of flat rocks stacked on top of one another.  From there I continued on the Great Coast Road to Westport where I spent the night. I ventured out to Hector the neighbouring small town to see the monument to Hector’s Dolphins as well as headed up to the Denniston Plateau which was New Zealand’s largest coal mine.  In previous years you used to be able to take a tour into the mine however due to some new health and safety laws that is not possible.

Day 2 was an exciting day as I went underworld rafting and caving.  We walked through 3 levels of caves with stalagmites and stalactites galore.  Some of the formations had pretty interesting shapes if you had a bit of an imagination.  Once we made it down to the third level we got into the water and floated out to see the glowworms that inhabited this cave.  The view was amazing.  Although no pictures could capture this light show the memories won’t fade anytime soon.  We floated along to the exit of the cave where we continued down river through a couple rapids before ending the trip.  Over all if was a day to remember.  After my rafting adventure I headed out to the Buller Gorge where NZ’s longest swing bridge resides and I walked across it and around the park for a bit before calling it a day.

Day 3 was a relaxing day.  I visited the ghost town of Waiuta which had amazing drive to get to the town although the town wasn’t must to look at there was only 1or 2 buildings left standing and the rest just looked like an open pasture field.  I guess  I was expected so more run down buildings rather than just open fields.  After visiting the ghost town I headed to Hanmer Springs for a couple hours relaxation in their hot pools.  To get to Hanmer Springs I travelled through Lewis’ Pass which is the 3rd mountain pass on the South Island and is less steep than the other two but still as scenic.  Maori legend talks about the hot springs of Hanmer Springs being the result of embers from Mt Ngauruhoe in the North Island falling from the sky.  Overall it was a very relaxing time at the pools.

 

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