The drive up the west coast from Punakaiki was every bit as spectacular as much of the rest of South Island - rather unexpectedly really given the write up in the guide book.Shortly after leaving Punakaiki we came across Irimahuwhero - a lookout point giving marvellous views both up and down the coastline. We took a short detour before Westport to see the lovely Tauranga Bay, with its seal colony, and Cape Foulwind.Westport too deserves a better write up - it's a neat and tidy little town - but for us it was just a stop to take on supplies.By now we were at the 'mighty' Buller River and our drive to Murchison followed its course through beautiful mountainous scenery and past relatively recent (1968) earthquake sites.Murchison too is a pleasant small town set in a fertile bowl surrounded by mountains.We quickly found our accommodation at the Kiwi Holiday Park then M dashed off for a game of golf while E tackled some urgent business matters.
We've done some white-water rafting in the past - the Isere in France, in Scotland and Slovenia - but we can't call ourselves experts.However this is an area where white-water rafting on the Buller River is one of the things to do and we booked ourselves a trip the following day.The season is obviously getting quiet (not surprising now that we're into Autumn) and there was only one other young couple (Paul and Claire from 'near London' - in fact she'd grown up in Epsom). It was really good fun and a nice day out although we reckon that the Isere experience was much more challenging and thrilling.Afterwards, with plenty of energy still to spare, we did the Skyline Walk which climbs to the top of a nearby hill where there are super views over the valley.On the way back down we were rewarded with some good bird sightings, particularly a Bellbird that sung its heart out to us and then proceeded to feast on tasty red berries nearby (see videos).The following day being a Sunday we did very little apart from dealing with website and internet matters, but still had time for a Sunday run to Lake Rotoroa in the Nelson Lakes National Park.It was very pretty but the hoardes of sand flies and mosquitoes kept us at bay.
E & M xxx