You would think that a gentle stroll to the beach to look at the sunset would be a doddle. We were told by the owner of the campsite that it was a good viewing platform for great photos so at 8.30pm we set off. What she forgot to mention was the track needed to get to the beach was almost a goat track, full of mud, slippery drops, and very dark areas to walk through. Anyway, we persisted and after a good 1km walk eventually arrived.....only just in time to see the sun, not the lovely soft red glow of it sinking beneath the horizon as expected, but of it disappearing behind a cloud! By the time we got back, it was almost dark, our feet and sandals covered in sticky mud and eaten alive by all those nasty biting insects that plague one during the dark hours! That will teach us to stay in the van and not go traipsing off into the unknown!
And yet another mad thing us Jameisons did. This morning, bright and early, we parked outside 'Underworld Adventures and Cafe' at a place called Charleston. Having picked up a booklet from the information centre in Westport we were intrigued to read 'Enjoy a Cave Rafting Adventure in the Paparoa National park and see Glow Worms. Tour includes a train ride through the ancient rainforest and a trip down the river Nile on inflatable tubes! We just had to do it, no question of being too old or infirm and a 'for goodness sake act your age' argument! It was fun and very challenging. Caving in every sense other than abseiling down sheer drops and squeezing oneself through a tiny hole. Yes we clambered over limestone rocks, yes we waded through streams up to our thighs and yes we had to get across a small chasm with a drop of 10feet by sliding on your bum, finding footholds and then with a leap of faith push yourself away from the rock face to reach the far side and hopefully to not drop down the hole. All immense fun if not slightly terrifying. Then came the floating bit. Onto the tube in the freezing water to see the Glow Worms. Getting into the tubes was easy...getting out was a different matter. But what a surreal experience. The tour ended with us shooting rapids down the Nile. Yes, it really is called the Nile but it does have a proper name, The Waitakere river. So these photos were taken by our guide with his permission to download as many as we wanted.
Over 4 hours before we arrived back at base, showers provided (lovely and warm) collect our photo and the web address and then it was back on the road towards Panakiaki to see the pancake rocks.
A blow hole was also supposed to be seen but she didn't blow for us today.
By now time was getting on and we still needed a campsite for the night. Found one but not until we arrived at Greymouth. Not sure how we can top today. Nothing much in Greymouth so Hokitika tomorrow and a possible walk by the gorge.