While we were in a fairly large town we stocked up on groceries and petrol. It was dry again (hooray) but very overcast and as we moved South it started to rain. Our plan was to get to Lake Rotoroa, which is located in Nelson Lakes National Park and spend a couple of hours walking but when we eventually arrived it was raining harder than ever, showing no sign of letting up. Once again visibility was zero and it seemed a bit silly to get very wet for the next few hours when you could see what you were walking next to from the comfort of your camper-van, so we had lunch next to the lake and then onwards we went.
By now we were travelling along the SH6 which was heading West towards Westport. It took us through Buller Gorge Scenic Reserve and the road ran alongside the Buller River, which was raging. In our AA guide it showed a picture of this river and it was a bluey green colour but today is was murky brown and it was moving fast due to the heavy rain. We could see across the valley as the rain had eased off but the clouds continued to hide most of the mountains. It was a very beautiful drive and we took our time, stopping frequently and getting out to have a look.
We arrived at Westport and had a little drive through the town but weren't very impressed so we drove straight to Cape Foulwind, aptly named by Captain Cook when he experienced bad winds. It wasn't any different today, but it was dry! We walked up to the lighthouse and marvelled at the wonderful views of the coastline and then we drove to the other end at Tauranga Bay, where there was a Seal colony. The Cape Foulwinds walkway joins the two together but was a three hour round trip and it was already mid afternoon. It was still good to walk a little way along at each end and get a feel for this beautiful landscape.
We headed South again to our final destination of the day, Punakaiki. This is an area of coastal limestone rocks which have been sculpted by the rain, sea and wind to form blow holes and stacks of what look like pancakes. It was quite amazing. We hadn't picked the best time to go as the tide was too far out but we watched as the waves crashed against the rocks and each other in a Surge Pool causing some spray to come through one of the blow holes.
We found a camp just a couple of kilometres away and made the most of having access to a proper kitchen tonight and made an incredible yummy Chicken Tikka Masala. We settled down to watch our final instalment of Glee (booooo!!) before falling asleep to the monstrous noise of the sea close by.