Yesterday we left Westport, and made our way to Lake Mahnipua (not sure of the spelling!). We did quite a few walks. One called the Truman Walk, through a forest, which led out onto a beack, where the waves were absolutely massive! Arthur got stuck on a rock between waves! The sand was also black there. We carried on along the coastline to Pancake Rocks (Punakaiki Rocks) and Blowholes, had lunch on the bus then set off on the walk. Again through another forest, and we came out to the sea, and there were amazing rock formations, you could see all the layers in them and they were just beautiful! We carried on round and there was a massive blowhole, as the waves came crashing through into the rocks it blew up water through the hole, which made it look like steam it was pretty cool. (or sweet as, as they all seem to say over here.. v annoying!), there were also some electric blue mushrooms growing! We stopped at another viewpoint for pictures, and then arrived at the 'Pu Pub' and were greeted by 87 year old Les, who was a joker! We were the only people allowed in the pub after 7.30pm as we were having a party! (which they have for every kiwi bus). We were cooked a huge steak each and there were loads of potatoes and veggies, it was a nice change to pasta! After that we had to get dressed for our party, the theme was boys in drag, girls in bags. So we all ahd to make outfits from binbags! I went to the girls's room and we all got ready together, then everyone made their way to the pub and we had a party all night! There were prizes for the best outfits, and the winner had made a wedding dress, deserved to win!
We also bought some greenstone - Pounama in Maori - at the pub. Pounamu was very important to the Maori people (and still is, and now to many Kiwis too). It was used for weapons and also for jewellery. Boys used to have to make a piece for their mother, when they had 'become a man' as a thank you for raising them, and then they had to make a second one for their wives when they got 'married'. They in turn were given one by their fathers once they had become a man, and travelled to some caves (I don't remember the name of) but it was a right of passage typw thing. The different carvings and shapes meant different things, adn you should be bought or given your first piece of greenstone by someone else (After that its fine for you to get for yourself) so Arthur and I each bought each other some. Mine was a circle, with a curling fern, which stands for new beggining, and life. Arhturs was just a plain pendant, but you can put it into the light and see all the detail of the rock, it's really pretty! (and so much cheaper in there than in the shops I've seen it in since!).
Today we left the Pu pub, and made our way to Franz Josef. Arthur and I had signed up for kayaking on Lake Mapourika, I was a little disappointed as it was a cloudy day, but when we arrived at the kayaking, they said we couldn't have picked a better day, as the reflections would be perfect - which they were! The kayaking was amazing, the lake was unbelievably still, and the reflection of the mountains was mirror like, it was just stunning. It was so quiet out there, you felt so peaceful and could just relax in your own thoughts! We were out there for about 3 hours, and you just didn't get bored, we kayaked over the lake to some streams and our guide gave us some oxygen weed (what is usually in a fish tank) to taste, and it tasted surprisingly good! We also tried some pepper leaf, which was so so spicy it was horrible, I had to spit it out! We also saw the web of the only spider to create nests for its young from its web, it was a big hairy spider though.. We also had the chance to kayak back down the stream on our own on the way back, just had to wait a few minutes for the person in front, so that was really nice and peaceful. Was good to get back for a nice hot shower! Really looking forward to the Glacier hike tomorrow!