Just as promised, and due to bad weather here at the moment a lot sooner than I expected: A glimpse on the part of New Zealand which definitely got granted a special place in my heart: The south island's west coast. Even though the pictures I'm about to show you were taken a little while ago, while I'm writing this I'm still here, a little further south though in Franz Josef Glacier Village sitting in the hostel, waiting for the weather to get better. Ok. Lets get to the point. What's so special about the west coast?
The West Coast doesn't have any sandy beaches and no turquoise waters. The coastline is rough and holds loads of rocks, the roads are windy and you're kind of sandwiched in between the mountains and the sea. The west coast highway is recommended by lonely planet as one of the top 10 scenic coastal drives in the world... I don't know if they did drive along all coasts in the world, but it's definitely on my top 10 so far. In between Westport (photos to come) and Hokitika the road more or less follows the coast line for about a 3-4 hour drive. At least for once I could see the advantage of being in the bus: I basically just looked out of the windows for about 5 hours, which was rather decent. And most of you know ho much I hate bus rides! Well, however. Probably the most famous spot on the west coast is Punakaiki, due tu it's famous Pancake Rocks.
Don't ask me how they came to that shape, probably something to do with wind & water. It's a super touristy spot, so in order to avoid the masses you might come early or late. High tide is recommended in order to see some blowouts in between the rocks, well. I've been there 3 times now and I never made it to high tide. It's still not bad tough .... :)
Just about 5 minutes both ways from the Pancake Rocks i Site are start and end of the inland pack track which follows the Fox River. If the weather has been dry for a while definitely worth at least a day trip if you're stopping at the rocks anyway, if it's been raining, some parts of the track are closed due to a lack of bridges.
Having travelled the east coast up and down now (yes, the bus driver who dropped me off at the Abel Tasman when coming north did actually recognise me again when I headed south the other day...) at least briefly, I'd still say that Punakaiki is a pretty decent spot you shouldn't miss out on your bucket list.