I left the campground in Westport this Christmas morning reasonably early heading for Punakaiki. The road was very quiet initially, and nobody seemed to be stirring outside when I passed through the historic town of Charleston. There are so many old settlements that used to be bustling towns in the days of the early miners for coal and gold. There was a cemetery just past Charleston, with a large statue of Our Lady at the front, and the old graves inside seemed to be pretty much all Catholic so I wondered if an old church used to stand here. This well maintained headstone must be being cared for by a descendant. I am proud to be one who traces ancestry to early miners, just a bit further south from here on the Coast.
Once you hit the coastal part of the road, there is plenty of drama to see out at sea.
I arrived at Punakaiki about 9.15am to see several bus loads of Chinese tourists leaving already: they must have had an early start to their day! My first impression at the entrance was of all the nikau palms. For some reason I had thought their range was only as far south as about Karamea, but clearly they grow ok a bit further south than that.
I have childhood memories of visiting these 'pancake' rocks.
My intention for the rest of the day was to drive over Arthur's Pass to Christchurch and 'surprise' a few people. But Lo and Behold my Aunty and Uncle were filling up at the same petrol station at the same time, and I ended up following them out to my cousin's place in Ahaura.
So for tomorrow I also have plans, but who knows?