Rod & Mary - Fulltimers 2014 travel blog

Hokitika, Jade Capitol

Tasman Sea

Pancake Rocks

Pancake Rocks Blowhole

We woke this morning to much clearer skies, so we were able to see the Franz Josef Glacier from our RV! It's quite a sight, especially with some blue sky behind it. I'm surprised that we're not really very far above sea level - I'll have to find out just how high.

Inspired by the morning glacier sighting, we decide to drive over to the Franz Josef car park and tramp out to see the glacier closer up. It's a pretty walk, partly through woods and then up the river plain. Top attraction along the way for us was a series of waterfalls, quite tall with many splits, sprays and fan tails.

Back in the RV, we have a long drive ahead of us. We stop at Bushmen's Centre Cafe for our morning hot chocolate. It's owner also owns an unusual sense of humor! Some strange devices, unusual souvenirs, witticisms - and possum pie, currently unavailable.

Moving on, we stop in the town of Hokitika, purported Jade Capitol of New Zealand. Lots of varieties of jewelry and stones. We noticed that some of the lower priced stones said the jade was from Canada. We managed to leave without souvenirs, but we did manage to miss the finish of the bicycle road race along our route - probably a good thing for them and for us!

Next stop up the line was the "Pancake Rocks". Now I didn't have great expectations here, expecting a bunch of rock cairns. But a pleasant surprise! Hundreds of layers of alternating sedimentary rock only an inch thick that had been eroded away to look like a (very) miniature Bryce Canyon. With a background of beautiful seascapes. Add to this a large natural bridge, partially collapsed, and a good-sized, very noisy, blowhole. It all made for a very interesting walkabout. To add a little comedy, a young couple brought their baby carriage around the trail and managed to get it wedged between the rocks on a set of stairs. The line backs up and a dozen grandparent hands try to help while the infant is laughing away at his own personal amusement ride!

It's getting dark as we approach Westport, so we bag the stop at a nearby seal colony and pull into the park as the evening sprinkles start. A short walk down the beach to Donaldo's for a nice dinner and we chalk up another New Zealand day.

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