We'd set the alarm for the excruciatingly early time of 7.30am, which is just wrong when you're on holiday, but we knew we'd have to have breakfast at 8.30am and get an early start for our trip to Blenheim. Paul said it would only take about four hours, but we wanted to stop off at a couple of places of interest on the way,
The road north, almost as far as Charleston, hugs the coast and the views are gorgeous. Unfortunately, the day was cold and overcast, with rain at times, so it was rather grey and forbidding. Nevertheless, the sun came out spasmodically and just lightened the colour of the sea and the drive was fabulous.
Linda and Paul had recommended that we stop at Punakaiki, where the famous 'Pancake Rocks' and blowholes are. The wind and tide have to be in a particular combination to see the blowholes, but the rocks are spectacular. There's a walkway constructed around the edge of the cliff, with little viewing bays all along, and it's really interesting. They have a plaque in one of the bays which tries to persuade you that you can see various annimals and faces in the rock shapes, but we could 'see' maybe two out of all their suggestions. One of Linda's friends had called round and said that there was now a 'beer' with grass growing on it like hair. I was envisaging a pint of beer or a tankard, but Iain said she meant a 'bear' and I just couldn't understand her accent!! Beer or bear, we couldn't find it! Apparently, no one knows, even today, how the rocks omes to formed in the layers and it's the only place in the world where the phenomenon can be seen. Very cool.
We stopped for a delicious lunch in Westport before heading east to Blenheim. Again, the roads were almost empty and finding another car on the road is a bit of a novelty!
We arrived in Blenheim around 6pm and found the motel very easily. Not quite like the homely places we've been for the last few nights, but very nice, nonetheless. Another of Mike's finds!! We're going to have to start paying him some sort of commission if he keeps this up! He's good.
It was pouring when we arrived and it rained pretty solidly and heavily until around 9pm, so we're hoping that the weather will be a bit brighter tomorrow. It's the first rain we've had, really, so we can't complain.
We've thought about the whale watching and looked at some reviews on Trip Advisor and think that we'll give it a miss. We might be making a mistake, but with the wind the way it's been today, and the three hour ferry ride to Wellington to come on Monday, we think five hours on the sea will be too much, especially if some people underestimate their susceptibility to sea sickness!!
So, we're going to have a bit of a chill day; we've been on the go pretty solidly for the last wee while! We're going to have a lie and then check out Blenheim.