We were glad of the early start, as on the way down we passed approximately 20 hikers heading up the hill. Only one German lady, three Austrian's, a couple of Dutch, a Frenchman, a bus load of Americans, two Brits, and two kiwi guys, oh and Dad and Junior (about 4yrs) who was looking forward to his baked beans for tea up at the hut.
Arthurs Pass was hidden in low cloud, presenting it's spooky what's out there look. Still pretty impressive, and very busy. Moana and Lake Brunner were also clouded in, but the lake was mirror still. It wasn't until we hit the coast proper that the sun emerged again, so we took the opportunity and stopped at a beach for lunch.
As always, the surf pounding on to the beach is impressive, especially as less than an hour previously we had been crossing over the Southern Alps. Now we were watching surfers ride the numerous breaks, and it was really warm, with no wind at all.
Punakaiki and it's pancake rocks and blowholes is always impressive, especially if you've never seen them before, but what is even better is the track up beside the Porarari River. The Tree Ferns, Nikau Palms, flax, huge cliffs, and the kayaks on the beautiful river, all make this track hard to equal anywhere. I love it. We were lucky today to be able to fit in 40 minutes strolling along the side of the river. Fantastic photo ops. Great company. Another Gem.
Then we were off. The new guy is arriving from the USA this afternoon. Karen is very excited. We zap down to Hokitika airport to meet Chris. Karen is all smiles...even though it is raining. Then it's a good old kiwi feed of Fish n Chips, followed by a walk to see the Glow worm grotto, and a relaxed evening. Daylight Saving finishes tonight. I think that means an extra hour of sleep......