12. Pancake Rocks
After leaving Hokitika a decision was starting to loom up in my mind. I was almost roughly on schedule despite the longer stay walking around the beach at Hokitika, but now I had to work out whether to make a detour further up north along the coast, or head straight across Arthur's Pass. In going north I'd be robbing Arthur's pass of exploring time, but I knew there were some interesting rocks to see up that way.
In the end, I looked ahead of me and saw blue sky, and looked off to the right over the mountains and saw dark grey. After some mental distance and time calculations, I figured the coast would be worth an hour or two of detour.
In particular, I had one spot in mind where I had come across an interesting rock formation by observant chance in my last trip. I was keen to see it in sunshine and introduce my camera to it.
As the road winds around the hills of the coast, there are a variety of interesting rock formations it the area. Even though it was a dry sunny day, the area still had a damp feel to it. Perhaps it was the lush vegetation that showed that it rained a lot there.
Punakaiki is well known as the home of the “Pancake Rocks”. By the time I reached Greigs, it was only a little further on, so I made the journey back there again. It was with a perhaps slightly odd feeling, because it meant that I would be retracing the my steps from last time. It was as if Punakaiki was the turning point where we tourists see the rocks and turn back again.
Nevertheless the Pancake rocks are a spectacular formation. The sunshine brightened it up, but even in rainy conditions it has a charm of its own. It shows that really strange things can happen with rocks, with that layering and erosion.
|Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki|
Heading back towards Arthur's Pass again, I stopped off briefly in Greymouth. At the river crossing, there are the piers from an old bridge proudly holding their head above water.
It's a fair sized town, but I couldn't say that anything struck me as particularly interesting though. Perhaps one point of note was when I walked up the rise at the end of the main street. From the street it looks kind of like a railway platform. Instead its actually a levee bank on the river. The strange feeling I got from standing on top of the bank was that the river was actually higher than the main street. Presumably that's not really the case, but once can imagine that with floodwaters coming down the river and a high tide back from the ocean, the levee bank could be highly appreciated.
After the quick stop in Greymouth, I was back on the road again to cross the mountains to the east coast via Arthur's Pass.