From Nelson/Abel Tasman National Park we headed towards the West coast with our stopping off point for the night being Westport. On the way to Westport we stopped off at Buller Gorge where I decided to have a go at crossing the Gorge in 'superman style' on the Commet Line which is basically a wire which is suspended above the gorge which you fly across in whichever style takes your fancy, seated or superman! Not half as scary as I was expecting, quite exhilarating, just a bit scary when you crossed the river and saw yourself heading towards a brick wall, am I going to stop in time!!!
Then onto Westport, not much to say about the town apart from the major water shortage, there was only 2 days of water left when we were there! And if you ever go to Westport, don't go out on a Monday night as the whole town is closed as me and Peter found at when we went out at 7pm to try and find some takeaway places to get some dinner from only to find the whole town completely deserted, apparently it shuts on a Monday!!! So frozen pizza from the local supermarket it was!
There is a seal colony in Westport which we drove out to see, nothing touristy about it at all which was quite nice, but there weren't as many seals to see as we were expecting, think most of them were out catching dinner with a few babies frolicking around on the rocks. But it was lovely to see them in their natural environment. The highlight of our stay in Westport had to be our hosts - Bill and Ann, who had been recommended to us, a very hospitable and friendly couple.
Next morning, we set off down the West coast towards Greymouth stopping off at Punakaiki which is well known for its Pancake Rocks and blow holes. Through a layering and weathering process called 'stylo bedding', the limestone rocks have formed into what looks like layers of thin pancakes piled on top of one another, hence the name Pancake Rocks. The water surges into caverns below the rocks and spirts out through blow holes giving quite an impressive display! Well worth seeing and again not very touristy at all which is so nice to see.
From Punakaiki we drove further down the coast to Greymouth where we boarded the Tranz Alpine Train. The Tranz Alpine train runs daily between Greymouth and Christchurch, weaving its way through the Southern Alps at one end and through Arthur's Pass at the other. The scenery is very spectacular in places which is why this train journey is known as one of the best in the world. unfortunately our photos don't do the trip justice, they just don't portray the size of the mountains all around you. Even though there was a very brown twinge to the landscape due to the lack of rain recently, it was still stunning and we could only imagine what it would like in Winter with snow on all the mountains.