The weather forecast for today was mostly heavy rain and it started through the night. We left the Shinning Star caravan park and headed for Punakaiki which is famous for the Pancake Rocks which is only an hours drive away by car.
We drove up to Greymouth and had a quick drive through town before heading north again. The road to Punakaiki from Greymouth goes inland and then parallel to the coast line most of the way and we found a nice spot on the coast for lunch.
We reached the Pancake Rocks and it was raining cats and dogs and looked like it was set in. We sat in out motor home for about 15 minuets and the rain stopped but it was still very grey and dark. We decided to don our rain coast and take a chance it would hold off long enough for us to explore the area. We headed down the well built path and stopped at various places that showcased different sections such as the surge pool and blow hole. High tide is the best time to view but we were about 2 hours after it so it was not as dramatic as it could have been. We spent a good 30 min on the track and decided to head back to the cafe for some real Pancakes with cream and berries :) While we were in the cafe it started to rain again even more than before and I had to go and get the motor home and drive it back to pick up my wide and son. We found a free camp but it was next to the river and the amount of rain falling suggested it the river may have swollen and taken us with it so we looked elsewhere :) We found a caravan park just up the road and decided to book in for the night and it was the Punakaiki Beach Camp which was $41.00 for the night. We were the only ones there and it was pouring so I decided to find a spot under a tree to give us some protection. The amenities block was about 50 m from our camp and we had to run the hot water for 5-8 mins to get it through the pipes as we were the only ones using it but after that it was nice and hot and warmed us up. I had been hoping to do some Astro photography and this would have been a great spot for it as there was zero light pollution and along the beach was rock formations coming out of the water like our 12 apostles. But as you would guess it rained all night so no chance of that but it made for a dramatic sky for some shots before it got dark.
Below is a pano from Punakaiki Beach Camp.
We woke up around 8.00 and decided it was a good morning for bacon and eggs, but then again when isn't a good morning for them :) We took things slow as it was still raining and were hoping it would slow or stop as there were some short bush walks in the area that my Wife wanted to go on.
The Pororari River Track was just up the road for our camp and it turns out it is a free camp but with no toilets. The track was damaged during a cyclone and was limited to a 15 min walk in and walk back out the same way. It was very Jurassic looking as the trees and bushes looked very old and mossy and we expected to see a T-Rex at any time...
We then drove up the road to the Truman Track which starts in native forest, the easy track then makes its way through tall flax bushes where you may see some native birds, such as the ground-dwelling weka. The track officially ends at a lookout point where you can view the Tasman Sea and the pretty Truman Beach, but you can continue further and visit Truman Beach via the small staircase near the track end. Watch out for strong, sudden waves at high tide! I almost got all my gear wet by getting a little too close to breaking waves and did not anticipate how strong they were. It's any easy 30 min return walk and is a must if you are in the area.
We then headed back to the Pancake Rocks as the sun was shinning by now and it was high tide. The lack of bitterly cold wind, warm sunshine and high tide made this visit much more pleasant and exciting. The waves were crashing into the surge pool and blow hole and it is amazing the power of the ocean and what it can do. We finished our walk after taking yet even more images and video and headed down the road to our beach stop for lunch.
We drove back to Greymouth and found our free camp on the beach and then took a drive through town again. We came back and parked up for the night at the Cobden beachfront and we were the only ones there and the sunset was awesome. We got out our camping chairs and sheltered behind the motor home and watched the sunset.
Beach camp at Cobden.
We were warned about the wind in this free camp and it did not disappoint and it howled all night and was even blowing in around the seal on the door into the back. In our motor home we have a gas heater to use when you have no power and it was working a treat until.... for some reason the batteries dropped to 10.1 volts and at this point the heater turns itself off.... We tried several times to restart it but to no avail and event the LED lights were flickering and dull. By this time our Son was in his bed and warm with 3 donas and a hot water bottle so we rugged up and did the same.
Days 12-13 coming :)