Day 26 Greymouth to Murchison
A bit of a grey misty start after last nights sunshine; a combination of sea fog and low cloud, weird to say the least as we are right on the coast. We took a walk after breakfast onto South Beach which was completely empty and strewn with masses of driftwood including complete trees! Think I prefer Bournemouth beach anytime. We drove the 6km into Greymouth to do some food shopping for the weekend and then hit the road towards Westport. We stopped at Punakakaiki as we had been told that we must not miss the Pancake rocks and Blowholes; very impressive I must say. Apparently it is at its best at high tide with a south westerly; well it was an hour off high tide and there was a SW swell, although there was no real wind to whip up the surf, still good though. The mist had started to clear a little at this time and the visibility had improved somewhat. It continued to roll in though all the way to Westport though so we decided to turn off and head off towards Nelson. Found a lovely place to stop for lunch along the Bullar river at Berlin; just a café real but they were having a country music weekend so entertainment for free as we ate our lunch in the sunshine which had broken through as we had headed off through the mountains. The plan was that we would make Nelson this evening but then we saw a place along the river at Upper Bullar Gorge and decided to investigate. There was a long suspension bridge crossing the gorge, zip lines, walks, gold panning and jet boat rides - typically these were almost half the price of the one we took on the Shotover river at Queenstown, oh well c'est la vie. We paid to cross the suspension bridge but I'm not sure that had I seen it in advance I would have as I think they should have paid me: ohmigod, long, narrow, swaying and made of wire, I nearly froze on the way over and having made it over I had to get back the same way! We then went on a 15 walk around the area that had been in the epicentre of the 1929 earthquake where the land slipped and gained 15ft. It was also central to the gold panning and of course Bill had to try his luck down by the river; I reckon he got a few flakes on the beach, not enough to make me a ring though! Actually the trip back across the bridge was marginally better than the way over but I still waited till I was the only one on there before I crossed! Consequently we decided on our way through Murchison that it would be so late by the time we reached Nelson that we stopped at a campsite here. It's a pretty little town, obviously with its history steeped in mining, the sun is shining, we have had a lovely BBQ of rib eye steak and loads of wine, a good chat with our fellow campers and all is good: just about to watch the Rugby 7 final of NZ vs. England……..we lost but not a complete whitewash so can hold our heads up still.