North of Punakaiki you drive into the small settlement of Charleston and you can not miss a huge four story concrete building. First question – what is it?
As we drive closer we see an open cafe sign, so seems a good excuse to stop. We have found Underworld Adventures and Cafe. A business that has been going for 20 years and has just invested in this amazing building. It is mid October, so very quiet, but I imagine this is buzzing in the summer.
The owner remembers Cynthia bringing tours of women through in Bushwise Women days. Things have been developed and fine tuned since then, and I am keen to come back for a raft one day. In the meantime the coffee is great and the whitebread sandwich $8 is superb!
Alys makes it for us with whitebait which arrived having been caught this morning. The trick she said is to keep it simple – separate the eggs, add the whitebait to the yolks, whisk the whites, and fold them together, season with salt and pepper and cook in hot frypan.
Note to self: come back and do some rafting next time, and have another whitebait fritter!
Beaches and Walks
All the way along this coast there are roads off to the west to beaches, and to the east to the rugged interior. My recommendation, turn into as many as you have time for!
Our highly recommended walking guide this trip: Kerry-Jane Wilson’s book – West Coast Walking – a naturalist’s guide
We turn off before Westport towards Cape Foulwind, and the seal colony walk. An easy walk up to see the seals basking in the sun and watching us.
Cynthia walks further around the Cape Foulwind walkway, and I drive around to pick her up – I get my short walk in, and she gets a longer one. Perfect.