I have lived in NZ 40 years and have never been here, so it is a real treat – there are not many corners of New Zealand I have not explored. We have some Pancake Rock formations at Waipu in Northland which are pretty special and one of my favourite places. But they do not compare to the towering cliffs of limestone and wild west coast scenery here at Punakaiki.
We are staying for three nights, so time for several trips to the blow holes ( high tide is best) as well as some time to explore some of the many great walks in this area.
Our guide is the excellent book by local Kerry Jane Wilson West Coast Walking – a naturalist’s guide
1. Cynthia and Sue head off for a two hour hike up the Pororari River and back down the Punakaiki River. I do the first 10 minutes along the river. The nikau forest is stunning and in this warm climate I could almost imagine them to be coconut palms on a tropical island, until I turn around and hear/see the relentless swells from the Tasman sea crashing onto the rocks.
2. Truman Track is just 15 minutes through the bush then low flax cover and limesone rocks before coming out to the beach – come at sunrise and sunset and you might spot the blue penguins coming home after a days fishing.
3. Bullock Creek Track you can cycle or drive up if you are brave – it is pretty rough and mostly one way. You pass some amazing limestone bluffs, and wetlands – don’t go up here if it has been raining!!
You can tell that this is one of NZ’s hot spots – even in October there are a lot of people around – it must be madness in the summer season!
Te Miko – the art of glass
Carolyn has been making glass beads here for 30 years. We have had some of her work and really wanted to see her studio, so we ring up to make a time.
3 kms north of Punakaiki, her studio is snuggled into a beautiful nikau forest looking out over the Tasman ocean. There is music playing, and it turns out that this is also the home of 88.2 FM Punakaiki rocks Radio.
Carolyn’s glass beads catch the sun which pours in through the windows, and it is hard to decide which ones to take home, so several end up in our bags. Carolyn is an interesting person, and it is only reluctantly that we eventually leave. if we had planned to leave a half day free, we could have made some beads ourselves – note to self for next time. firstname.lastname@example.org
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