New Zealand 2003 travel blog

Typical West Coast view

Amusing sign (for the Heppells only I think..)

Punakaiki Rocks


Rock stacks

We took our time getting up as the weather was still pretty poor, but David looked out of the window, saw which way the clouds were moving and told us with confidence that good weather was just around the corner. We took him at his word and just a few minutes down the road, the rain cleared and the sun came out.

As we drove south, the West Coast continued to reveal its beauty, with steep hills clad in thick green rainforest while the strong Tasman Sea crashed against its shores.

Between Westport and Greymouth we took a break at the famous Punakaiki Rocks, part of the Paparoa National Park. These weird limestone formations are nicknamed Pancake Rocks, for the rather obvious reason that they look like stacked pancakes, although the reason why they are so is down to a differential weathering process called Stylobedding. So there.

We stopped briefly at the town of Hokitika, the major centre of Greenstone (Jade) in the country, but we were (wait for it..) a bit jaded by craft shops by now so we just pushed on.

We eventually arrived at our chosen destination, the township of Franz Josef Glacier, cleverly named after the nearby lump of ice that tumbles down from the high mountains n the Westland National Park. By the time we arrived, we didn't have time to see much of the glacier, so we just settled in and foraged for food at the Blue Ice Café.

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