Upper West Coast, NZ

It was drizzling after arriving by coach from Arthurs Pass into Greymouth.  It was typical West Coast weather and Greymouth was not looking its best as we quickly strolled through town looking for a place for lunch.  In the end the best spot was the Speights Ale House right across the street from the TranzAlpine bus station where we had disembarked!  The food there was actually very good…

After picking up the rental car we drove south to our accommodation at Rimu Lodge which overlooks the Hokitika River.  We enjoy staying at these privately owned lodges as they’re a good way to talk and meet small groups of people in comfortable and informal surroundings.  We had to forego all the local activities due to the rain but this gave us the chance to more fully enjoy what the lodge had to offer and to get to know the hosts and other guests.  We had brought our own food for dinner so ate in but most guests head back out to Hokitika (10min drive) where there are a choice of restaurants.

The following morning the rain had disappeared and the sun shone. After a scrummy breakfast laid on by the hosts we headed north again to Punakaiki.  The small settlement is based around the famous Pancake Rocks blowholes.  It’s a relaxing stroll along a well formed path and as it was near high tide we saw the blowholes near their best!  We stayed at the comfortable Punakaiki Resort and watched the sun set over the water.  You are limited to basically eating at the Resort restaurant but as we had our own food we elected to eat in again.

The following morning Geoffrey took some more photos of the Pancake blowholes before heading off again.  The whole West Coast coastline is stunning and dramatic and the scenery is helped by the road hugging close to the shoreline for large parts.   We took in the view at a leisurely pace before dropping into Westport to provision up for the rest of the trip.

After lunch we continued back along State Highway 6 through the scenic Buller Gorge where it’s especially pretty where the road runs above the Buller River.  There are not too many settlements until you reach Murchison where we stopped for coffee and to stretch our legs.

We finally arrived at our next Lodge destination in Bronte late afternoon.  From our start point in Hokitika it was a reasonable day’s drive (around 5 hours)  but it was very pleasant and enjoyable due to the stunning scenery and great roads.  We never felt the need to rush and was probably one of our best ever road day trips we’d completed in New Zealand.

If you would like more information about this destination please do not hesitate to contact me.

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

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