June 12

We did a drive through of Hokitika and Greymouth during our journey north. We stopped in Punakaiki for a longer visit in order to see Dolomite Point, known for its blowholes and “Pancake Rocks.” The Pancake Rocks are natural limestone formations created under the sea by pieces of marine organisms 35 million years ago, but, according to the information provided, no one knows how they became layered as they are. It is a mystery. Regardless of their origins, they are really amazing to see now. There are clusters of them, some larger than others. They’re different heights and spaced unevenly in some places. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to them, but it adds to their mystique. The blowholes were also much different than Jack’s Blowhole, which we hiked out to see in the Catlans. They were broader and the surge seemed to follow the walls in a circle. The area was fascinating.

We continued on to the Punakaiki Cavern. It was similar to other caves that we had seen, but without glow worms (which is really the draw of caving anyways).

We left and headed for a short hike on the Truman Track (Zhoel was adamant that we had to hike it, as this is his surname.) The track wound through the woods and down to a beautiful beach. The surf was smashing against the rocks and the wind was making a tiny waterfall flow outwards into the air. It was definitely worth the walk out to the beach.

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After we left, we made our way towards Karamea. We ended up driving into the night, something we haven’t done very often. About twenty minutes from Karamea we ran into a rock slide, which shut down the entire road. By the time we arrived the diggers were hard at work. The occupants of other cars were sitting around drinking wine and beer and watching the workers. We joined them and met several of Karamea’s 587 occupants. They were very friendly and had many suggestions of places to visit during our time in the area. We spent about an hour waiting for the road to clear. Then everyone said goodbye and headed in their way. It was an enjoyable interlude. We ended up driving to Kohaihai, the local campsite, where we spent the night.

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