Wednesday, August 18, 2010

NZ Day 2 - Punakaiki

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Looking south, at the Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki.

  • It was a raining morning on the day we gonna set out on our tour around the South Island. Went to pick up the rental car first at Ace Rental, and was given a silver Mitsubishi Lancer. It's directly imported from Japan, as the audio and even the road-tax sticker were in Japanese.
  • Tailed behind Mich, driving her car, while she drove the rent car from the rental car center back home. My first time driving after more than one-and-a-half year. Not really a big deal, as I still remember how to drive a car haha!
  • Loaded the car with our luggage and food, mostly snacks that included a dozen of fresh eggs lol! Had a simple breakfast, including some coffee cakes with nuts and mooncakes, made by Mich's landlord's parent. Bid farewell to them and the little baby as well.
  • Let Mich drive first to familiarise myself with the traffic rules in New Zealand. It is very similar to driving in Japan, but I have never driven in Japan before, so it is better I watch and learn first.
  • Road was quite windy for most of the time along Arthur's Pass, a mountain pass in the Southern Alps that marks the boundary between Canterbury regions and the West Coast. Became the entertainer to the driver, i.e. Mich to keep her awake by creating lame jokes, which made her sweat most of the time lol!
  • Stopped at a few scenic spots along the way, one of it was Castle Hill, an imposing array of limestone boulders in the area reminiscent of an old, run-down stone castle.
  • Arrived at Greymouth and had lunch at McDonald's. There was a promotion of a new type of burger - Angus the Third, but I saw it wrongly and told Mich to order a August the 3rd burger haha!
  • Had a stroll around the small town of Greymouth, while doing some shopping before heading north to Punakaiki, to see the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. These limestones look like 'pancake'-layers, and they are heavily eroded limestone area where the sea bursts though a number of vertical blowholes during high tides. 
  • It was still early before the high tide, the time when the blowholes are usually best to be seen. So, we left the place and checked-in to our YHA Hostel, about ten-minute drive from the pancake rocks. It was a two-floor wooden house with four rooms, equipped with a kitchen and a living hall. We were lucky as the rest of the rooms were unoccupied; so it was like us having the whole house to ourselves!
  • Took a short walk from the hostel to the beach, and the waves from the Tasman sea was really strong and it was just amazing. Combined with the strong wind, the sea breeze stuck on our hands and we notice there were some fine salt on our hands when it dried off. Or maybe it was something else, my sweat perhaps? Haha!
  • After unloading our stuff, we returned to the pancake rocks and blowholes site to see the spectacular phenomenon of sea water being forced upwards through the blowholes. Lucky that the wind was blowing in the correct direction and managed to catch the blowholes at their best sight.
  • Watched the sunset from the southern hemisphere for the first time, overlooking the Tasman Sea. It was our first sunset in New Zealand.
  • Got home and cooked a simple dinner - sandwiches made of wholemeal bread with scrambled eggs, chicken patties, canned sardines, and salad, plus nectarine and golden kiwi fruits as desserts. It was the beginning where I have kiwi fruit for almost every meal in New Zealand!
  • Took an early rest as it would be a long drive down south on the next day.

2 comments:

ahKOK said...

enjoy leh! song la jealous liao la me! :)

calvin said...

@ ahkok:
if you have the time and budget, i would strongly recommend you this place for vacation!