The forecast was for rain, rain, rain, the tail end of a hurricane to be exact, so instead of heading back into the woods we decided to take a driving day from Nelson Lakes to Arthur’s Pass via the west coast. Someone had recommended the Punakaiki pancake rocks and blow holes to us, especially on a stormy day, so after a couple hours of pelting rain and windy roads (and miraculously no up-chuck!) we stopped at Punakaiki. The wind had whipped up sea foam and as waves crashed on the rocks it puffed up into the air like confetti and got blown about. We returned salty but not too wet, thanks to our gortex gear.
Wave spray is forced up into rock fissures and plumes up like, well, like a whale blow hole I guess. Hence the name. The rocks are a flavor of ocean sedimentary rock, but apparently geologists are still guessing at the exact mechanism of striation formation.
The rocks are always changing as they’re being beat down by the ocean.
We arrived in Greymouth to discover that the road to Arthur’s pass was closed due to flooding, and a bridge on the highway further south had washed out as well. Consequently our search for a room at a hostel was fruitless, they were all filled to capacity. So we shelled out a bit more money for a hotel room that Jeremiah found, probably one of the last ones in town, and turned on the heaters to dry out our gear. Then we returned to a cool brewery we had seen in town to pass the time.
New Zealand wineries and breweries do a better job than those in the states of accommodating children. There was plenty of space for Milo to chase his ball and explore, and we only lost the ball into the kitchen once.
At the brewery we chatted with a Kiwi couple who had left their 15 and 10-year-olds with their ipads in the hotel room and come for a tour at the brewery. It seems like a long way away, but I guess babies do eventually grow up to become semi-independent, and some distant day in the future, even fully independent. The nice couple even gave us their free beer tokens as they were leaving, so we splurged for a snack of potato-leek quiche.