Sunday, March 21, 2010


Greymouth to Murchison

Not far from Greymouth lies Shantytown, more or less New Zealand's history in a nutshell. An old locomotive pulls a couple of cars down a track, and stops at a lumber mill. From the mill, one encounters a gold mine. The process is explained, from the sluicing to the panning. Tourists are guaranteed a find of gold for the five dollar panning fee. Joanne will be returning to Canada with her gold; I assure you there is more gold in a bottle of Goldschlager.

More than thirty buildings had been moved to the site from the area, and they were tastefully reassembled: the school house, the fire station, the Masonic Lodge, the pharmacy, the jeweller, the church, and many others.

A pleasant night in Greymouth, another very impressive beach. I did attempt a swim, as far as the ankles.

Because the town is at sea level, the graves are set up the same way as those in New Orleans. Hopefully, the photo will help.

On down the road, with a stop at Punakaiki, to see the Pancake Rocks and Blow Holes. Well defined, well explained, with a fine path to the site on the Sea. Back on the road, just a few kilometres north, is the Truman Track. We took the suggestion from Lizz (Corke) Conroy, who lives just outside Nelson, on the South Island. Another fifteen minute walk to the Sea. A great way to get the feel of the New Zealand rain forest, as well as another wonderful view of the sea.

Further up the coast, a slight detour to see the seals. Tarunga Bay hosts the seals at Foulwind Point, and they are spectacular. We watched them frolic on the rocks, jockeying for position, perhaps thirty or more. About half an hour off the beaten track, well worth the trip.

The trip on highway 6 to Murchison involves the navigation of the buller Gorge. The river runs at the bottom of the gorge, and is followed on both sides. occasionally, there are guard rails to keep you on the road. There are other times when the New Zealand authorities trust your driving ability. Straight down, a thousand feet. Seems I am adjusting to the phenomenom, simply by keeping my eyes glued to the road. Rain on the windshield for 30 seconds. Nice day to drive.

This camper van park is again an international smorgasbord. Finns, Czechs, Swedes, and the usual Australians and New Zealanders. It is the weekend, and they hike to these places while there is still good weather. The summer has ended, and it is early fall. Still unnecessary for a sweater at this point.

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