Depart South Beach (Greymouth): 2274 km (09.30)
Sunday dawned much the same way Saturday ended, wet.
We stopped by Doc Fisher's daughters in the morning. Sally and her husband, Greg, were very welcoming and we chatted for a couple of hours.
On their recommendation, upon leaving the Gibbs, we decided that we would go back up the coast to Punakaiki to see the Pancake Rocks. Previously we hadn't been able to decide if it was worth the detour, but they assured us it was. All the guidebooks plug them, but the pictures – well they don't do them justice really. They were amazing, and only 45 mins up the coast. We spent about an hour there, gawping, walking and a few minutes in the souvenir shop just to get some postcards. Then we were back on the road again thoroughly satisfied we had made the effort. It's hard sometimes to balance the agenda with knowing what to see. Also bearing in mind the weather was clear and fine, whereas had we taken the coast road yesterday and seen the rocks they would have been shrouded in cloud and rain – probably still worth the visit, but better in the sun we concluded.
Quick stop in Greymouth for some cheap diesel. Nearly every single gas station so far has been selling diesel at 153.9 NZ dollars. In Greymouth for some reason, it's 147, so we filled up, then took the road we'd come in on yesterday back up to Stillwater then turned south east towards Moana on Lake Brunner, our destination for the night.
Clear weather and straight roads meant we covered the ground in about an hour and arrived early in the afternoon, around 16.00. The site is gorgeous! Better yet, we are the only camper here or any description. We think there might be a family staying on one of the 'motel lodges' but we only saw them when we checked in, out on the lawn.
We've been given strict instructions where to park mind you, because there is an Oystercatcher couple sitting on a nest of eggs at one end of the camp, and hatching is apparently imminent.
The site is completely rural, about 2 km before Lake Brunner. It's very spread out, with lots of shrubs and grass, and oddly enough, alongside a mini golf course.
We parked up and settled in and decided to take a short (ha) bike ride into Moana and down to the lake. I popped some washing on while Nick got the bikes ready, but all that was put on hold when we were suddenly visited by what we decided must be a kiwi bird. Very excited to have spotted one of these rare and timid birds so easily we through down a few crumbs of bread for it, which it promptly picked up and legged it quick-smart across the park, under one of the motel lodges, presumably to it's nest. It was very amusing and was repeated a couple of times before we set off on our bike ride.
It was only later that I realised the bird was not a kiwi but a Weka – similar looking if you don't know what you're looking for, but more common. Oh well.
We cycled in the glorious afternoon sun (bit chilly still) down to the lake, around a short walking track in the woods and then out over a new housing estate that has yet to be built – basically a road (good road actually) with building plots marked on it. Lake Brunner is a destination of the future apparently. Our short cycle turned out to be about 9 miles, including a couple of short climbs.
Suitably knackered, we showered, Nick shaved (first time since we got here!) and made yummy spag bol for dinner. Could have been the best meal so far...!
We looked at some photos and had another late night of 11 or so.