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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 250: A very easy day in Punakaiki

NEW ZEALAND | Saturday, 12 July 2008 | Views [1002]

The Tasman Sea batters the coast at Punakaiki

The Tasman Sea batters the coast at Punakaiki

Saturday 12th July

The storm that had started before I had gone to bed continued through the night, the wind strong enough to blow open the balcony door at some ungodly hour of the morning. I had woken to find Danika panicking, not sure what was going on but not too concerned for it to keep me awake for too long.

I had a good lie-in, got up and made a leisurely breakfast and chatted to some of the other guests. Most of the very small crowd of people there had moved on or were out for the day, so Danika and I had the place to ourselves for a few hours. I worked on my journal and she read and enjoyed the silence. I also had a chat to the manager of the hostel, a woman called Lisa who was originally from near Ponytpridd in South Wales and had lost none of her accent. We agreed to meet her in the pub later to watch the rugby, the second match between the All Blacks and South Africa in the Tri-Nations tournament.

After lunch, we moved our gear to another house in this small complex, a house called 'Rata' (named after the wood that it was made out of?) and found a different kind of dorm room in the upstairs: single mattresses laid out on the floor in a semi-circle. It was all very cosy but the low ceilings were potentially lethal, with the edges of the carved hardwood completely exposed and waiting for someon to crack their skulls against.

It was even more quiet in this house and, again, I took advantage of this by doing a bit more writing. It was all very relaxing and a nice change to recharge the batteries after a week or so of walking and travelling. Later in the afternoon, we were joined by an English guy called Mark, who happened to be from Hitchin, a town I had visited on a few occasions (he was surprised to hear that anyone was familiar with it).

Punakaiki is most famous for the Pancake Rock formations and the blowholes that are created when holes in the rock act as a kind of funnel which, when the sea comes in at high tide, help to create upward shoots of water. We were told that the high tide was around 18.00 that day, so we went down at 17.00 for half an hour before it got dark. The place was really worth a visit, and the power of the sea was even more evident than it had been on the drive down to Punakaiki the day before. The rocks were getting a real battering as the sea churned.

We returned to the hostel just as it got dark and made dinner and had a chat amongst ourselves before going to the local pub to watch the All Blacks get beaten by the Springboks, revenge for the defeat the week before. The locals were very gracious in defeat, applauding the brilliantly audacious try – from the smallest man on the field – that won the game for South Africa.

It had been a good evening and we all had a laugh before we headed back to the hostel and got some rest.


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