October 7, 2017
Woke up to the true West Coast weather, blustering and windy rain. It looks as if the entire northern part of the South Island will have rain for the next day or two.
The showers at the Greymouth Top 10 are truly over the top! Slate tile, glass panels and spotless! They are far better than most hotels anywhere!
We want to see the Pancake Rocks and Blow Holes in Punakaiki which is halfway to Westport. The trip towards the east coast and the ferry will be a bit longer but the rocks are supposed to be well worth seeing. Through a layering-weathering process called stylobedding the Dolomite Point limestone has formed into what looks like piles of thick pancakes. Not sure my pictures do them justice but the layering is just incredibly detailed. Being blustery the blow holes were surging. It was about a half hour circular walk around the bluffs to see the various rocks. So worth the stop.
The weather is so nasty that we need to find a good camp where we can be comfortable for the night. The camp at St. Arnaud is minimal so our only real choice is to drive 288 kms to Nelson (supposedly the sunniest spot on the SI). The distance may not seem far but lots of turns and one way bridges that make travel slow. I don’t think we have driven 100 km/hr yet on our trip.
From Westport we headed east on SR6 through the lower and upper Buller gorges. Even with the rain it was an impressive and beautiful drive. Lots of adventure sports in the area. We stopped in Lyell, a very tiny gold ghost town, for lunch in the rig, Once we hit Murchison we were in territory we had driven a few weeks ago (the day of our Lewis Pass snow!) Pastureland and Nelson National Park mountains are still beautiful!
We arrived at the Top 10 Camp in Nelson and got the very last spot. Bob took a nap and I went to the TV lounge. The rain became torrential and on a metal roof I couldn’t hear anything but the pelting drops.
For dinner we are going into town to Stefanos which is supposed to offer the best thin crust pizza in NZ. The bloke running the camp is Italian and says it truly is great pizza. Nelson is also the craft beer capital so we will see if we can find something good.
If by a slim chance it is not raining tomorrow we might even be able to go to Abel Tasman National Park and take the water shuttle we abandoned the last time we were here. Alternatively, we will go to Blenheim and perhaps visit a winery in Marlborough.