On the road up the west coast
The section of State Highway 6 that goes between Greymouth and Westport passes some spectacular scenery. You have the Tasman Sea on your left and temperate rainforest on your right on a winding road - you turn a corner and WOW! you have to stop and take a photo - well I do!
- Road Trip
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
The 'Pancake Rocks and Blowhole' is a very popular tourist spot just south of the township of Punakaiki. The 'Pancake Rocks' isan area of limestone which has been eroded by the sea resulting in what seems to be pancake layering of the rock. At high tide a number of blowholes display their waterspouts. There are a selection of walkways throught the formations some of which are wheelchair friendly.
PUNAKAIKI ROCKS [PANCAKE ROCKS]
Located south of Westport & Charleston, are the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes that were formed under the sea 30 million years ago, and have now weathered into extraordinary shapes by wind and waves.
The blowholes are the result of massive undermining of these weird structures by wave action. High seas surge into caverns, causing enough pressure to propel impressive geysers of spume and spray up through clefts in the rock. The best time to visit the blowholes is at high tide when they are at their most powerful.
The Dolomite Point lookout above the famous pancake rocks, is a short walk from the road on a paved loop track. You will hear the booming surf long before you see the pancakes!
We didn't do this as we were moving on, but if you are here at dusk and head down to the nearby beaches and wave-sculpted rock platforms, you may see Westland black petrels. This is the only breeding colony of these large burrow-nesting birds in the world.
LOCATION.... 40 km north of Greymouth, or south of Westport on the West Coast.
There is an information centre, tearooms, tavern, motels, lodges and a motor camp located here. There are some good photo opportunities, and this is a MUST SEE!
- Road Trip
Cape Foulwind is located near Westport. At the Cape, there is a good track to viewing platforms so that you can see the Seals and the rugged coastline. The Seals here, are New Zealand Fur Seals. They give birth in late November. A week or so later, the males arrive at the colony, looking for a mate. The males remain ashore, and do not feed for up to two months during the breeding season. With the pups , there is plenty of playful activity to watch.
Also here, is a walking track, about 11/2 hours which takes you to a sandy beach and granite cliffs. You get great views of the Cape, and another side track will take you to the lighthouse.
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
This beach is very safe swimming with a fairly flat surf and the water stays shallow for quite a way out. The sand is a black and sticky type so you will get a bit dirty if you don't watch it. It's a great place for the kids (of all ages) to make sand castles.
- Water Sports
This is fun and can be enjoyed by the whole whanau (family). A trekking place is located out of Westport on the road that you turn off to go to Reefton. It's a good area with many streams and flat areas so you can really experience what it would have been like for people moving about in the gold rush days.
- Horse Riding
Go to the Speedway
This is a great option for those petrolheads out there. Noice, grease and speed!! The track is just out of Westport at Wishart Raceway, North Beach. Check out upcoming dates at a local garage (they will probably know when the next meet is).
Tauranga Bay at the end of Cape Foulwind has its very own Seal Colony. The place smells a bit odd but has a great number of Seals cavorting around the rocks below you. The bay itself is nice for a dip in the sea (Tasman Sea) and it goes on around to the Orari River which is known for its Whitebait.
There's a small museum called Coaltown, which outlines the history of coalmining in the area. It's worth an hour or so to look around.