After Greymouth, we drove up to Punakaiki. Punakaiki is mostly famous for its pancake rocks and blow hole: limestone formations etched out by the coastal elements. We sometimes forget nature's shear force, until we witness something like the blow holes at Punakaiki.
We even caught sight of a Weka. Wekas are yet another flightless bird native to New Zealand, you could almost say it looks like a kiwi albeit the beak! This weka, like most native animals of NZ, was not scared of people and we got to admire it upclose for a while.
After Punakaiki, we drove up to Motueka and it is amazing to see the scenery and weather change. Once we approached the orchardland of the Nelson region, the blue skies opened up and the sun bathed us in warm sunlight.
Here forth, we did not plan any accommodations but decided to just wing it. This left us feeling less stress and more spontaneous. The following day is probably my favourite day of the entire road trip. We drove from Motueka to Takaha where we went and saw Waipupu, a series of beautiful springs with the clearest waters. The drive to Takaha was horrible and I got horribly carsick and had to close my eyes and be of bad company to Aaron while he was driving. Waipupu was used as grounds to sift and dig for gold back in the gold rush days, evidenced by the piles of stone walls the straddle the brief walk to the springs. Now with the government's protection, the springs are left as untouched as possible. It is sacred to the Maori people and you are not supposed to touch it. (We saw a person ahead of us touch the water, no self control!)
It is here, at places like Waipupu, that you realise nature really does have an awesome colour palette. I mean, look at the teals, the blues, the inbetween greens. It's all there. Colours you dream of. Obviously, my photographs don't do it justice. I have no filters for water photographs but I'm sure this alone, will tempt you to come to NZ and have a gander of what we have to offer.
The trek itself was very easy (it even had a wheelchair accessible route!) and fantails dotted the trees, flirting with the camera dressed tourists.
Next, we drove to Farewell spit, the tip of the south island. The beach itself was nothing amazing and mostly quiet except for the bobbings of black swans that relaxed at the shoreline. It was hilarious, swans at the beach.
If you squint, you can see the black dots in the distance, black swans!
Aaron and I.
After a quick delicious Margherita pizza at Takaha, we headed off to Kaiteriteri for a spot of swimming. It was lovely weather, not overbearingly hot and it was surprisingly empty. It is usually a favourite spot for holidaying families around the South Island to celebrate the Christmas season.
But my most favourite part was looking around the numerous rockpools and the fastidious black growth of mussels that covered the rocks. We took mussels and opened them with other rocks and fed them to the ever so grateful hermit crabs living in the rockpools. We watched as hermit crabs fought over the parcel of meat. Once we fed one pool, we went around to other pools to see if our culinary skills were needed there. We must have spent a good hour or two like this. Enraptured by the small world and its inhabitants.
Rocks covered in black baby mussels.
More grown up mussels.
Cat's eyes; a sort of a sea snail.
One of our favourite rockpools.
Aaron, putting on a bored facade.
With our hands smelling like the ocean, we drove to Nelson where we had dinner before crashing into bed at a very comfortable motel.