We did it! We're already on day 3 of the travels! It seems to be a whirlwind already so I can't imagine that once its over it will have felt like a month! We started off heading straight west to Wesport - the biggest city on the Coast. We did a hike called the Cape Fowlwind Walkway that ended at a seal colony. We managed to start the trip on a positive note weather wise as well with the sun shining down on us for the hike and showing the beauty of the Tasman Sea.
Once we finished the walk we headed further down south to stay in Punakaiki for the night. The place we stayed was called the Te Nikau Retreat, and a retreat it was. Our cabin was in the middle of the forest, flashlight and candles required. We trecked through the rainforest to find our tent shaped wooden cabin abtly named the Stargazer for its glass roof. Once we settled in for the night it seemed as though the Stargazer was going to have been in vain because the clouds were not going anywhere, but right before we were about to head to sleep the sky opened up. We quickly blew out all the candles and layed down to look up at the stars. It was an incredible experience laying in the warmth of the cabin being able to see the sky in all its glory. One recommendation to the retreat - perhaps they should cut down the massive branch the hangs over the stargazer?
Day two we woke up in our now cold cabin and went for a morning walk along the (rocky) beach to see some more of the aggressive Tasman Sea. It is a beautiful way to wake up that's for sure! After we headed back we had showers, had some breakfast and checked out to go see the Pancakse Rocks and Blowholes. The pancake rocks are named that because they literally look like big tall stacks of pancakes due to the coastal erosion from the sea (also called stylobedding) giving it a layered look. The blowholes are due to the force of the Sea crashing into them pushing the water back out through the small holes.
Once we said goodbye to Punakaiki we continued down the west coast road along the Tasman Sea to Greymouth. There's not much in Greymouth - especially on a Sunday - besides the Monteith's Brewery tour, but we had a bit of time to burn. We had some lunch near a park and waited until our tour at two. The tour was very educational. We had done a tour of a small brewery in England, but Monteith's is a much larger brewer, so we were able to see a bit more technology at work. After the tour we got a taste of all 8 brews they currently have available. Yum!
That's all for now, its getting dark and we are headed down the Franz Josef for two days! I'll write more about Hokitika when I get internet again!