The West Coast and Nelson Lakes National Park

Fortunately the next day greeted us with sunshine and we had stroll along the river front of the town. Greymouth has a rich coal mining history and we saw some mining relict along the pathway. A newly inaugurated memorial was dedicated to the miners who lost their lives while working in the nearby mines. Unfortunately a big mining accident happened just two years ago which claimed the life of a few miners.

We continued up north along the breathtaking highway number six towards Westport. The road makes its way along the coast and offers fantastic views at every corner. Definitely one of the most rewarding drives in the world. After about 40 km we stopped at the Pancake Rocks – a limestone formation which look (surprisingly) like staked pancakes. With the perfect weather and the wild ocean as backdrop it was another superb photo stop. Also the visit of the nearby beach with its waterfall was a great stop. Once again New Zealand scored big time with its scenery.

After a fuel stop in Westport we headed to Cape Foulwind where we walked to the local seal colony. From the platform we not only saw a lot of adult seals but there were also quite a few pups around which were probably only about two to three months old. Quite an exciting thing to see these animals so near.

As it started to rain we left the seals behind and moved inwards towards the town of Murchinson. However before setting up our tent for the first time in New Zealand we crossed  NZ’s longest suspension bridge (on foot for sure) which was quite a challenge for acrophobia ridden Kevin (but as he is writing this blog he survived it…).

After a quiet but surprisingly cold night at the lovely Kiwi Holiday Park in Murchinson we headed to St. Arnaud where we wanted to do some hiking. Our chosen hiking trek led along beautiful Lake Rotoiti to the Whisky Falls. The lake with the mountains as a background was post card perfect and we enjoyed the 10 km walk which included the crossing of several small rivers. A good warm up for the Abel Tasman National Park hike we wanted to do in a few days.

Tired from the hike we drove on towards Blenheim passing a lot of wine fields and on to Picton where we stayed in the Villa Backpacker.

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