After a bit of a drive we ended up in our final destination for the evening; Westport. We took a little walk along the jetty to the lighthouse before heading to out hostel for the evening; Bazil’s.
Westport, a sleepy coal mining town, is the surf capital of New Zealand so we had the option of taking a surf lesson if we wanted to. Unfortunately the waves were too large for surfing so all lessons were cancelled. We drowned our sorrows with a bar crawl organised by Guy. After we pre drank to Notting hill (drink every time you see Julia Robert’s teeth) we got back on the bus for the ‘selection process’.
Guy decided that we all had to mingle as a group so he picked names out of a hat and proceeded to tie us all together. I was paired up with a Korean guy from the bus called BumJae who was a good laugh.
It ended up being a very boozy evening which ended with shark and chips (yes, shark and chips) in the local fish and chip shop at 2am.
The next morning we woke up early and made our way back to the bus. We stopped off at Cape Foulwind for a stiff walk around the cliff edges past the lighthouse.
To say the walk was windy would be a complete understatement – our hats and scarves we’re flying everywhere! It was a really beautiful walk and finished with a seal colony spread out over the rocks for us to admire. The walk certainly woke us up from the bar crawl the night before.
After a little while longer in the bus we stopped off again to visit the Pancake rocks and Blowholes in Punakaiki.
The Pancake rocks were formed 30 million years ago from minute fragments of dead marine creatures and plants landing on the seabed about 2 km below the surface. Immense water pressure caused the fragments to solidify in hard and soft layers. Gradually seismic action lifted the limestone above the seabed. Mildly acidic rain, wind and seawater sculpted the bizarre shapes. They really are fascinating to see.
The weather that morning was a little mental and the wind was so strong – this actually was to our advantage and we managed to admire the blow holes in their full glory. The waves crash up against the rocks and blow up through the holes caused by erosion – you get absolutely soaked if you happen to be standing at the wrong place at the wrong time..!
Luckily we all survived and hit the road again onto our next destination of the trip – Lake Mahinapua.