Up the West Coast

Ah, the West Coast of the South Island. Land of gorgeous strips of sand and sea, 7000mm of rain per year, gazzilion sandflies and about 120 residents.

On our way up north we did a short day walk on the famed Kepler track and discovered a lovely hidden beach, hiked a glacier, got bombarded with 150mm of rain in 24 hours, visited a gorgeous gorge and enjoyed a marvelous sunset around some crazy rocks. On our next visit to New Zealand we’ll be sure to spend more time on this wacky, pretty as a picture, coast!

A hidden beach near one end of the Kepler track.

A hidden beach near one end of the Kepler track.

N enjoyed a beachside picnic while A took a dip in the freezing water.

N enjoyed a beachside picnic while A took a dip in the freezing water.

We were delighted to come across some Alice in Wonderland mushrooms. Poisonous?

We were delighted to come across some Alice in Wonderland mushrooms. Poisonous?

"If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there". Or is it a smurf home?

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”. Or is it a smurf home?

We were still gorging on the beautiful fruits we bought on the way up here #####  ######

We were still gorging on the beautiful fruits we bought on the way up here around Cromwell.

On a side trip from Haast township to Jackson Bay, which is at the end of nowhere. Torrential rain and cute penguin signs (no penguins, though - maybe they didn't have umbrellas)

On a side trip from Haast township to Jackson Bay, which is at the end of nowhere. Torrential rain and cute penguin signs (no penguins, though – maybe they didn’t have umbrellas)

Franz Josef Glacier. You can imagine how the flow of the glacier carves these steep U-shaped-valleys through the mountains.

Franz Josef Glacier. You can imagine how the flow of the glacier carves these steep U-shaped-valleys through the mountains.

On our climbing tour on Fox glacier.

On our climbing tour on Fox glacier.

Walking on ice.

Walking on ice.

The cool and lovely town Hokitika.

The cool and lovely town Hokitika.

The Hokitika coast, unguarded.

The Hokitika coast, unguarded.

Guarding the coast. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.

Guarding the coast. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

From the cool town of Hokitika we traveled to Hokitika Gorge, which was, indeed, gorge-ous. No photoshop here, just clear water mixed with some glacial sediment.

From the cool town of Hokitika we traveled to Hokitika Gorge, which was, indeed, gorge-ous. No photoshop here, just clear water mixed with some glacial sediment.

Enjoying the blue.

Enjoying the blue.

Walking back from the gorge, lots of Ponga tree-ferns, which look like beautiful combinations of fern and palm.

Walking back from the gorge, lots of Ponga tree-ferns, which look like a beautiful combination of fern and palm tree.

The view from our picnic spot at the gorge.

The view from our picnic spot at the gorge.

From Hokitika we headed north. What you don't see in this photo, and is quite amazing, is that the returning waves here superimpose with the coming waves. It's like a physics class.

From Hokitika we headed north. What you don’t see in this photo, and is quite amazing, is that the returning waves here superimpose with the coming waves. It’s like a physics class (<– A’s stroke of nerdiness for the day)

We last-minute booked a cute hostel right on the beach, and the owner urged us by phone to arrive by sunset...

We last-minute booked a cute hostel right on the beach, and the owner urged us by phone to arrive by sunset…

... and this is the sunset, definitely worth getting there on time.

… and this is the sunset, definitely worth getting to on time.

A didn't miss the opportunity for a sunset swim.

A didn’t miss the opportunity for a sunset swim.

The next day, we waited till high tide and went to check out the famous Punakaiki ("Pancake") Rocks.

The next day, we waited till high tide and went to check out the famous Punakaiki (“Pancake”) Rocks.

They were pretty cool!

They were pretty cool!

Working on a blog post in a cool coffee shop in Westport. Was very tempted to buy some of the artwork on the walls. Wasn't sure how to ship it, though.

Working on a blog post in a cool coffee shop in Westport. Was very tempted to buy some of the artwork on the walls. Wasn’t sure how to ship it, though.