#6 - Up the West Coast
Jerry, really sorry to have missed you!!!
We're traveling north on the West Coast. Right? This has to be the most incredible stretch of scenery on earth. I could use one superlative after another and still not do it justice. The view over the Tasman Sea is misty. It seems to be calmer than its cousin on the other side of the country - the Pacific Ocean.
We stopped and wandered around Hokitiki, an old gold mining town with lots of neat shops. But lo and behold, I couldn't find anything to buy. LOL LOL
DID YOU KNOW ....
DID YOU KNOW ....
I do believe we could stop for photos every couple of minutes. Ahh well. The West Coast is rich in mining history - gold, coal, greenstone. Now it's a race to get to the Pancake rocks and blowholes before we lose daylight.
We make it - barely. It's about a 10 minute walk and Matt asks if I'm sure I have enough film. I check the camera and it's on 6. Yup, that gives me 18-19 shots. Plenty. I take a couple at each of the first lookouts and then we hit the first big blowhole. Suddenly spewing droplets are coming from the rocks rising high in the air. Click, click, click, whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. What????? NO!!!!!!!!!!! I'm out of film! I'd grabbed a 12 shot roll [didn't even realize we had any with us]. Daylight is slipping fast. Matt [bless him] tries to get to the car and back but there just isn't time. Lesson learned - keep a roll of film in the pocket at all times.
Now we're going to try to make it to Westport for the night. That's where Jerry has a hostel/motel called Trip Inn. It's late when we arrive and everything is closed up. We drive up and down several streets looking for it. I have 3 accommodation books and it's not listed in any of them! I can't find anything open to ask for help. Yikes. Why don't I have the address with me? It's on the web, but I can't log on in the car. Finally, we give up and pull into a motel for the night. Actually, I find I can't log on here at all - it's one of the out-of-the way places where my toll number isn't good. [When we get into Nelson the next night and I log on I have an email waiting from Jerry. An American couple had checked in last night and he greeted them with a 'Hi Carole and Matt'. But it wasn't us!] And now he's headed out of town. Dang blast. I was really looking forward to meeting Jerry. We've been corresponding for the last few months.
A holiday home in Nelson is our next stop. We're heading east inland and then north again. Past rivers, gorges, forests, lakes, waterfalls, ferns, mountains, valleys. The time is flying and I hate the thought of leaving this South Island and it's people, lifestyle, scenery, history, etc.
A couple of wineries on the way seem to call to us. *grin
Oh my gawd! The traffic in Nelson is horrid. Driving in NZ is the one thing guaranteed to drive you crazy. Not only is everything backward. Left is right and right is left. The steering wheel is on the passenger side. The accelerator and brake have changed places. Turn on the lights and the windshield wipers start. While the national highways are marked well, the local streets are often not even marked at all. Advance warning is hardly ever given for turns offs. When you're rushing along at 100 km/mile and suddenly you've passed your turn-off, it's really aggravating. Navigating is not an easy task when it's almost impossible to tell where you are. Streets change name constantly. Cities are laid out with streets running every which way - curves, jags, round-a-bouts. Believe it or not, only ONE city in NZ, Hastings, is laid out with a block system. I don't know if I'll ever have left and right straight again. There! That's off my chest. *VBG
May, 12th - today we cross back over to the North Island. I don't want to!!!! But this time, I'll be darned if I'm going to sleep the whole trip. We get the laptop set up before we leave port and there's even an outlet next to our lounge seats so we don't have to use the battery. Matt plays Solitaire for a while and then I spend the next couple of hours writing report #4, or was it #5? The one before this one. I'll figure it out later.
It's a great day for crossing the Cook Strait - the water is calm. *VBG Yup, that's all it takes for me. When we dock in Wellington, we're in a whole new world again. Gone the slow South and into the rushing, bustling North.
We head for Ben and Maryanne's for the evening. It's great to see our friends again. Definitely two people we're going to miss when we head for home. Maryanne made reservations for dinner - asking for 2 tables - one for the adults and one for their 3 children [ages 4 - 8]. The kids were set up with chips [French fries] in front of a TV along with video games and it was really neat. Later on they took on Matt in a game of pool. Alas, he lost.
Finally, it was time to say good-bye to our new friends and head for Paraparaumu for the night.
Well, I'm almost caught up. But it's time to shut down as we have an appointment at the local police station in about 30 minutes and I want to send this out first.
Carole and Matt