Thursday, January 26, 2017

Lush and Wet

     The west side of the south island is incredibly lush but also very wet. it reminds me of the road to Hana on the island of Maui. Rain has been in the forecast every day alternating between mist, showers and very brief moments of blue sky. We are glad we have brought rain jackets, rain pants and hiking boots. Many of the trails in this area are closed due to mudslides, flooding and muddy conditions. We spend part of the morning at the mouth of the Grey River as it enters Greymouth, watching the striong surf crashing on the breaker walls. 
     We follow the scenic coast road north winding our way uphill and into the very lush canyon with huge ferns and dense vegetation lining the cliffs, and thin waterfalls flowing in every direction we look. 

     Our destination today is Paparoa National Park, 115 sq miles containing the coastal settlement of Punakaiki and its dramatic Pancake rocks and blowholes. These bands of limestone separated by thin bands of mudstone appear as layered formations. Deep caverns have been formed as water has eaten into the cracks, forming blowholes that shoot plumes of spray. The low clouds float across the heavily forested cliffs, a mysterious backdrop to this unusual scene. We spend several hours here, watching the explosive plumes and rivelets of milky froth run down the canyon walls.

     From there we head further north to the Fox River. The walking trail leads us into a dark jungle like forest before deep pools prevent further access. 

     We turn back to find Ray trying his hand at fly fishing. The wet weather causes us to turn back to Greymouth. 
     We are enjoying the very fresh lamb in New Zealand and in three days have tried lamb chops, rack of lamb and lamb shanks. It has all been delicious.


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