Thursday, October 02, 2008


From Fox it was along to Punakaiki, home of the Pancake Rocks, a renowned rock formation on the West Coast, notable for two two reasons:

First, its appearance: like a million rock-grey beer mats stacked randomly and precariously in an elongated strata-esque formation . Second, it's name : that it's called Pancake Rocks, when in reality, the only time Pancakes ever looked this was when Fred Flinstone had that job at the diner.

The only way I can describe it is bloody weird, but interesting. Like jam on mashed potato. Or Bjork.

Later we visited a beach lagoon a few minutes down the road. I honestly can't remember what it was called. Something like Lake Poghognusnakakakakaiekaiakeiskapaokapolepaos. Maybe it has an extra "s" on the end.

Again, weird and interesting were the only and inadequate adjectives I could conjure. It was a beach where the tide had no so much come in, but trickled up, in , around, down and through, seeping in at angles and melting into vast, strange patterns and eddys around sand banks and rocks.

The upshot of which meant far away on the horizon, beneath the hue of the setting sun, we could see people seemingly walking on water, but actually jogging or taking their dogs for a stroll. Like Haast Beach this was another magic moment. Annoying, then, that upon opening her camera bag, Louise found her favourite wide-angle lens in pieces in the bottom. It would have to be fixed. That much was clear. As to how and when, that was more difficult. Amazingly, there are no Nikkon specialists in Punakaiki. Or the South Island. Hmmm......

And so to bed. We were staying in nearby Te Nikau Lodge, a collection of corrugated huts scattered throughout the cover of an adjacent rainforest. Clean, cosy, authentic but caused problems if you needed a wee in the night. I took a torch and pittled in a bush. I think Louise just held it and went back to sleep.

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