Sunday, March 2, 2014

New Zealand Day 18: Punakaiki to Franz Josef Glacier

We woke in our lovely campsite in Punakaiki and got ready for a return trip to the Pancake Rocks before leaving town. High tide was just before 10 AM, which is about when we are usually able to get our act together to break camp (putting B to sleep at 10 PM doesn't help with this, but we are all night owls at heart and on vacation tend to fall into this kind of schedule). 

Here we are having breakfast and doing some planning for the day:

Then we headed up to the Pancake Rocks again. We were able to see all sorts of amazing geological details that we'd missed in the dark last night, but the waves were not so high this morning so the blowholes were much less impressive. What a bummer!

You can see the rainbow made by the droplets shooting out of what must be some sort of channel or tube or crevice coming up from the waves below:

And here you can see the layering of the rock features:

More layers and fins:

The rocks are in Paparoa National Park, and this was the first place we have encountered the Kiwi Ranger program, which is very much like the Junior Ranger program at US National Parks. Here B is working on her booklet in front of the visitor center (or centre, as we must say here in NZ):

Being awarded her badge:

Proud Kiwi Ranger!

Next stop on down the coast was Greymouth, which is home to the Monteith's Brewing Company. I was particularly interested in stopping here because they make some really good ciders that I've been drinking since arriving. They also had some great nibbles, so we ended up making a lunch out of it. The beer-battered french fries (ah-hem, chips) were particularly fabulous! B enjoyed a ginger beer and my mom had an L&P, a fizzy lemony-type drink that is a famous thing here and that is also very yummy.

My dad was interested in some ice cream for dessert, so he googled Greymouth ice cream and off we drove to the address. We pulled up on a residential street and looked at each other in confusion. Turns out that it was an ice cream truck and that the address was probably for the owner's house. So we went on down to the next town of Hokitika and got some amazing ice cream there at Sweet Alice's Fudge Kitchen.

Hokitika was awesome. It is famous for pounamu (jade) so there are lots of stores selling jewelry. We got this amazing ice cream, which we watched them blend with local fruit. Mmmm. They also had a lovely little independent bookstore where I was able to get a couple of books for B. I wish we'd had a little more time to spend there!

On down the coast we went to Franz Josef, which is the name of both the town and the glacier. As we got closer, we started to see snow-capped mountains peeking up in the distance. We settled into the Rainforest Holiday Park and headed off around the corner to The Landing for supper. The meal was delicious, though it took long enough to arrive that we were comped a round of free drinks, which was a fair trade-off! B especially loved the umbrella that came with hers:

During our meal, the clouds blew off and this was the view down Main Street:

By the time we finished, it was another 10 PM night for B. Oops. After putting her to bed, Alex and I pre-packed for the morning, because we were planning to head out on a half-day walk with a great vantage point over the glacier.

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