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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Saturday 7 January 2023

Pancakes, edible and otherwise.

 January 5th

Pain....lots of it during the night. Couldn't get comfortable and had to get up at one stage to take more painkillers. Remind me in future not to go for silly long walks again without my sticks!

It rained nearly all day, we had hoped to do the Denniston coal mines but the low cloud was almost as bad as when we attempted it three days ago. The idea was abandoned but a stop at the Scullery for another of those delicious pies and milkshakes was not!.


Road works along these roads have different ways of being dealt with. Some with signs giving priority and others with traffic lights. The ones which have a timer and countdown are brilliant, at least you know how long you have to wait.

Those without a counter well it's anyone's guess as to how long you have to be there for. The last set we waited for 10 minutes and then a lorry with a brush roller on the front turned up. Something across the road perhaps?

At Westport a launderette was found. Two wash loads this time, mainly the jeans and jumpers from that cave tour. Climbing over those wet rocks a lot of the minerals and sand stone clung onto the clothes, and I was worried about staining. Shopping also completed as was filling with water at the dump point. 

Our overnight stop was back at Kawatiri beach reserve, so very glad we arrived before 4 pm. The area is now completely full as is the NZMCA park next door. It's holiday season and as such we must be parked up by 4 pm otherwise it's a sleep by the roadside.

January 6th

Groan how could we have forgotten the Cockrell! What with him starting even before it was light, and right by the Toy too, and with the rain, not a brilliant night's sleep was had by either of us. 

So this morning we left for the pancake rocks. It's at a place called Punakaiki and you will see in the photos why it's called what it is. There are blowholes, which at high tide are quite spectacular. We were determined to reach there by high tide.

11.30 am the tide was nearly in, we had made good time, the roads were empty and the kilometres eaten away. Gosh the place was packed. Where had all those vehicles come from as we never met another vehicle in either direction. Anyway setting off for the km walk along a really good concrete path, we heard the roar of those blow holes before getting anywhere near. And by 'eck they were spectacular. Apparently, when there is a storm surge the jets coming up through the holes are a force to behold.

The pancake rocks.

 Can anyone see faces in these rocks?

The rain held off long enough for us to sit outside and enjoy bacon and egg pancake stack at the Pancake cafรฉ. We also ended up spending far too much money on a T Shirt for me, Jandals (Flip flops) for Ian and caps for the grandsons.

There was a place called Fox River, a recommendation from another camper. We backtracked several km to get there. We had been told of cave walk of 5 km along the river bank which was a 'must do'. Sounded great, not sure if I was up to it but would have given it a go. It did mean having to cross the river in several places. With all the rain, I was glad in a way the decision was out of our hands, it didn't seem advisable with rising water levels but what was nearby was an old tunnel which could be walked through. 


One big drawback, to get to it, again it was a river crossing as the only footbridge was under renovation. This was an old wooden truss bridge which took walkers across the river, but I'm assuming (as I can't find out anything more about the bridge) that part got washed away in floods. 



The other option was to take one's life in one's hands and walk across the road bridge. No pedestrian walkway and although the roads here are very quiet. It would take one of those big trucks with towing trailers to scare the life out of me.  We chickened out on both counts, for today that is anyway.  Tomorrow?? We will see.

And seen on route, views from lookouts.

And wildlife

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