Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rich's Birthday Holiday - Westport & Punakaiki

Last week it was Rich's birthday. He decided a while ago that he would prefer a break away for his birthday rather than a gathering and his destination of choice was the West Coast.

I was more than happy to head along on the birthday adventures - given that neither of us had ever been to the West Coast before.

First stop (if only for a couple of hours) was Westport, which was nice enough and all - but it was one of those places you felt a bit like you had been transported backwards maybe five years. I guess it's because I'm used to living in Wellington and the pace on the West Coast is much slower.

After a bus trip through some wild west coast country, we arrived at our destination and home for the next couple of nights - Punakaiki!

We stopped in for a bite to eat at the West Coast Cafe (at least I think that's what it was called) and then headed over to the backpackers to drop off all our bags..

Once settled in we figured the best thing was to check out Punakaiki so we decided to walk to the pancake rocks.

We arrived at the Pancake Rocks - but soon after some of that famed West Coast weather set in. I guess the upside was the rocks were not over run by tourists (they were in all likelihood being sensible and having a hot drink in the cafe).

After all that walking and travelling - we decided it was time for dinner - at the Punakaiki Tavern - as to be expected the Tavern is the only place to get dinner in town.

The following day - it was time to take in more of that beautiful - if not slightly weird West Coast scenery with a bush walk. Unfortunately, the walk was bought to a bit of a stand still when we found a river crossing.

After the river put a stop to our first bush walk of the day - we decided to try a second walk and came across the most amazing bay!

After two days of lots of walking and exploring, it was time to leave Punakaiki. We spent our last few hours in town going for a walk, eating pancakes near pancake rocks and hanging out with some of the local friendly Weka's.
Finally the bus arrived to take us to Greymouth - where we would spend only about an hour before heading to Chrischurch on the Tranzalpine.

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