We now headed down to the west coast of the South Island via the Buller Gorge. Here we stopped at the
Buller Gorge Swingbridge - a 110m suspension
bridge which is the longest in New Zealand.
Here is the mighty River Buller flowing below.
We spent a night in Westport and went to Cape Foulwind the following morning - the closest point to
Australia in New Zealand. The point was named by Captain Cook in 1770 after his ship the Endeavour was
rocked by a ferocious storm whilst anchored here. This view looks back inland and south from the cape
towards the Southern Alps.
There is also a seal colony at Cape Foulwind were anything from 20 to 100 New Zealand fur seals may be seen.
Continuing south down the coast, we stopped off at this fantastic gorge - the Porarari Gorge just north of
Punakaiki. Believe it or not, this photo was taken from the road bridge and looking the opposite direction
was the Tasman Sea!
There was a footpath along beside the river which we walked for half an hour or so.
The reflections in the river were amazing ...
... and the vegetation on the banks quite interesting such as this tree which didn't seem to be able to
decide which way to grow!
Just along the road from the Porarari River is the Truman Track heading out Trumans Beach (strangely
enough). The soft rock surrounding the beach had formed this strange blowhole through which I posed!
Just along the road at Punakaiki are the impressive Pancake Rocks - a destination on the agenda of virtually
every tourist. A walkway around the rocks permits close inspection of the impressive features.
At high tide, the blow holes in the rocks jet water high into the air providing an incredible aquatic
Unfortunately, the tides and sun didn't coincide well enough that day for the perfect shot but nonetheless
the effect is quite amazing.
We continued our journey southward that day to Greymouth and stayed the night right next to the beach where
we were able to see this west coast sunset.
And here it is again a few minutes later!
The following morning we set off for Franz Josef Glacier, about 180km to the south. The railway which comes
over Arthurs Pass from Christchurch runs parallel to the road for a while here and there are a few of these
single track rail-road bridges which I believe are of Victorian vintage. This one was near Hokitika.
All the time, the scenery was becoming more impressive with the main mass of the Southern Alps getting
closer and closer.
Lake Ianthe, right at the side of the road, provided yet more good photographic opportunities ...
... even in the midday sun there was still a mist hovering over the waters.
The mountains continued to grow closer.
I think this is Lake Mapourika - again only a stone's throw from the road.