Friday, 4 November 2011

Final Days in New Zealand - Dunedin and Christchurch

As we were finishing our trip to the south, we stopped at Dunedin.  Hanna Terwilliger, daughter of Eau Claire friends Ellen and Steve Terwilliger, is taking a semester abroad at the University of Otago in Dunedin, so we spent half a day with her.  We toured the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, looked around the beautiful old railway station, and visited the Dunedin Botanical Gardens.  Cindy and I continued on to the very good Otago Museum, and finally headed back to our backpackers (Hogwartz, an old bishop's residence now themed on the Harry Potter books).

Hanna and Paul at Cadbury

Cadbury chocolate
Dunedin Railway Station
French rugby supporter in Dunedin
The next morning we took the bus back to Christchurch, in time for a concert with Irish singer Pauline Scanlon and her band, sponsored by the Christchurch Folk Music Club. Our final weekend in Christchurch involved visiting some of our favorite places - the Riccarton Bush farmers market and Hagley Park.  There we took one final trip through the botanical gardens and then went to the activities area to check out the Garden Variety festival (part of the Rugby World Cup final game activities).  The festival  included display booths (including a fascinating trailer exhibit showing vintage New Zealand TV footage) as well as music and dance.  We learned a little merengue from the local Latin dance club, and saw a wonderful percussion group named Pandemonium .  On Sunday night we watched the home team make good, with the New Zealand All Blacks winning over France 8-7 to win the Rugby World Cup.

Sing Boy Sing
More performers at the Garden Variety festival
Pandemonium - percussion band
Water music
A few final thoughts:

- Christchurch does garbage right.  Everyone gets three containers - green for organics, yellow for recyclables, and red for landfill waste.  One week they pick up organics and recyclables, the other week they pick up organics and waste.  The city council runs this service, which is one place where government can be a lot more efficient than private industry - you don't get five different companies running their trucks down the same street.

- The postal service delivery people ("posties") ride bikes to deliver the mail.  We saw a postie hit a two-inch slot with a large envelope on the ride - pretty impressive.

- Christchurch was an interesting and active city from our perspective as short-term visitors, but it's certainly difficult for those who live there and have to deal with all of the work of rebuilding.  Perhaps the best expression of support we'd seen was an exhibit of hearts at the Canterbury Museum.  People from all over New Zealand have sent hearts of various colors, shapes and sizes to Christchurch in support of the people of Christchurch.  We are impressed by this national solidarity.

- There are a lot of beautiful places in New Zealand, but as with any traveling it's really the people that make it interesting.  We're thankful for all of the opportunities we had to meet and interact with new friends in Christchurch and elsewhere.

A boy Cindy visited
Cindy's walking group
Robert and Yalini - friends through University of Canterbury
Farandol - the Christchurch folk dancing group
This is the end of our trip and our blog.  As our Bulgarian friend Yuli says, "Bye for now".

Paul and Cindy

Monday, 31 October 2011

The Catlins and Stewart Island

Once Paul finished grading final tests, we headed for the Catlins at the bottom of the south island.  The Catlins is a scenic region with a lot of good things to see - waterfalls, coastline, caves, hill country, and interesting people.  We took the Intercity bus down from Christchurch to Dunedin, then rented a car and drove down through Balclutha and into the Catlins.

Our first stop was the Nugget Point lighthouse.  Nugget Point has a large number of boulders off the point (the nuggets) and a now-automated lighthouse to warn the coastal boaters.  It's another beautiful spot out of many on the south island.

We stayed at a backpackers called the Hilltop Accommodations just outside of the small town of Papatowai.  We were greeted by a field of sheep, and ended up being the only ones there that night.  The lower building is a wonderful old house high on a hillside, with a great view of the valley and out to the sea.

The next morning we went to the nearby Purakaunui Falls, which is a nice multi-tiered falls but probably more spectacular when the water is running at a higher volume.

We then visited the amazing Lost Gypsy Gallery in Papatowai.  Blair Somerville is an artist who blends various pieces of technology into artwork.  He has a museum of sorts in an old bus which contains many interesting windup creations, but the real treat is his outdoor theatre with some awe-inspiring larger pieces, including a piano with each key starting up a piece of technology to make an unique sound.  If you're interested in the unusual, the interesting, or the just plain fun, this is definitely worth a stop.

We then drove to Curio Bay at low tide to see a fossilised forest on the ocean shore.  Trees (both fallen and standing) were covered in sediment 180 million years ago, and you can see trunks and stumps petrified in the rock surface on the shore.

We were sorry to leave the Catlins, but had to leave other sights for next time.  We drove through Invercargill to the airport, and caught a short flight out to Stewart Island.

Stewart Island is the third largest island in New Zealand, about 30 km. off of the bottom of the south island.  It has about 400 permanent residents, and a small number of tourists when we were there (would be much busier in the summer).  About 85% of the island is national park, and there are a number of good walking trails both in the main settlement of Oban, in the surrounding area, and around the whole island.  We walked on two of these (the Fuschia Walk and the Raroa Walk) the first night, and saw both the local species of parrot (kaka) and the black and white tui.  The tui mimics other birds and also has a call that sounds like R2D2 from the Star Wars movies.

The next day we booked a half-day birding trip through Ruggedy Range Expeditions to Ulva Island, which sits in the middle of the Paterson Inlet that cuts into Stewart Island.  All mammals have been removed from Ulva Island (with the exception of periodic rat infestations that are controlled with traps and poison).  The Department of Conservation has reintroduced native birds that had been forced off the island by mammalian predators.  We saw the "big four" that our guide Furhana was looking for (birds with the interesting names of rifleman, saddleback, yellowhead, and a red-crested parakeet), plus a variety of others, including the New Zealand robin, bellbird, grey warbler, tui, brown creeper (different than the US version), and a morepork (a New Zealand owl whose call sounds like "more-pork").  We were on this trip with two birders from Wales who were in New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup (Wales came in fourth).

The second day we visited a local native-plant garden, and then did a half-day walk on the track from Half Moon Bay to Horseshoe Bay.  This is a beautiful walk that weaves in and out of bush and coast.

The third day we walked on another trail on the edge of town, hearing and seeing many more tui, before heading back into Oban.  We were hesitant to leave - Stewart Island is a beautiful and relaxing place to visit, and the people start getting to know you after only a few days in their community.  We caught our return flight back to Invercargill, picked up our car and drove back on Highway 1 to Dunedin.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Food and Flowers

Since we last wrote:  spring has (really) finally happened in Christchurch; we've attended two pizza parties; we helped out at the Vegetarian Expo; Cindy made cookies with a local woman and her son; and Paul gave two final tests.  We also have been watching the All Blacks (New Zealand national team) advance in the Rugby World Cup.

As part of Open Day at the University of Canterbury, Okeover Gardens had a pizza party.  Everyone rolled dough and made their own pizza, which was then baked in the outdoor adobe pizza oven in the garden.

The next day we attended a pizza party at Joff's house.  Joff is a programmer (system administrator) in Paul's department at University of Canterbury, and he's also vegetarian.  Every year Joff invites a bunch of people over, and makes pizzas all afternoon.  On the day we were there, Joff made a total of 16 vegetarian pizzas with toppings ranging from fresh garlic to asparagus to canned spaghetti (for the kids).

Last Sunday we volunteered in the kitchen and food area at the Vegetarian Expo put on by the Christchurch Vegetarian Society.  The event included information tables, product sales, food vendors, music, movies and cooking demonstrations, including a demo by Robert Jacobs, a young man who was one of the contestants in last year's "Master Chef - New Zealand".  Over five thousand people attended the expo, which we thought was quite impressive.

Cindy was asked by Marcela, one of the hosts of the university newcomers' group, to help her learn how to make cookies.  So Cindy, Marcela, and Marcela's seven year old son Orlando made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and lemon sour cream cutout cookies.  Orlando impressed Cindy with how well he learned to roll out the dough and cut out cookies.  His favorite was the rugby ball that Cindy made out of the leftover dough.

Now that we will be leaving, spring weather is finally here.  We only need to wear two or three layers of tops rather than four or five.  We've been able to do a little biking, flowers are blooming everywhere, and the birds are calling most of the day.  Soon we'll head out on our final trip - to the Catlins and Stewart Island in the south.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Banks Peninsula Revisited

After getting stranded on Banks Peninsula because of snow, sleet and ice the last time we visited, we've been wanting to go back to see it in better weather.  We got the opportunity last weekend when Paul's university colleague Brent invited us to their house in Robinson's Bay (where we'd stayed one night last time.)  Brent, his wife Suky, and son Hugh were fine hosts for an enjoyable Saturday night dinner on the peninsula, and we talked until midnight.  On Sunday morning we accompanied Brent and their dog Ellie for a walk around their hillside property.  Brent showed us a native stinging nettle that has especially large and irritating spines on the stems, the leaf edges and the leaf veins.  At noon Brent gave us a lift into Akaroa town.

We were met by a van from Pohatu Penguins, a combination tour business and penguin conservation effort run by Shireen and Francis Helps.  We opted for the Pohatu Package tour, which involved a 4WD van tour around the south end of the peninsula, hiking, exploring the penguin colony, and staying overnight in one of their farm cottages.  It turned out we were the only ones out there that day, so we ended up with a private tour.  The van driver was Shireen's niece, and she showed us several sights on the peninsula, including a high point on the former volcanic rim, a lighthouse and sea arch, and a hidden log with several weta (brownish native crickets that are being studied because of declining numbers).  She then dropped us off on a section of the Banks Peninsula track, and we hiked down along a stream on a two-hour hike to the Helps farm on narrow Flea Bay.  The hike actually took two hours and 45 minutes for us, as it had rained recently and the track was quite slippery in places, but it was a beautiful walk, with lots of foliage, waterfalls, and nice views of the coast.  We made it down to a little cabin on the farm that was our overnight residence, and at 6:00 PM we knocked on their farmhouse door.  We were first greeted by four bottle lambs, and then joined Shireen for an evening tour of their work with the penguins.

The Flea Bay area has been declared a marine reserve, which helps protect the penguins by restricting fishing and activities (such as netting and jet skis), that could harm the penguins.  There are two kinds of penguins here - blue (technically, white-flippered, a NZ subspecies of blue) penguins, which are quite small (about 9 inches tall, and 2 pounds in weight), and yellow-eyed penguins, which are larger and more rare.  The Helps have built many nest boxes for the blue penguins to encourage breeding, and now have counted over a thousand nesting pairs.  They have also built blinds so that visitors can see groups of penguins "rafting" into the bay before they emerge from the water, and can see the penguins coming up on land.  We saw several blue penguins up close as Shireen inspected the nests, saw a large group of about thirty blue penguins rafting in the water, and saw a group of six blue penguins come up the shore.  We also saw two different yellow-eyed penguins walking up the rocks.  It's amazing how these awkward looking birds can climb up over steep shoreline terrain to get up to their nests. 

The next morning we were hoping to kayak, but the wind was strong and there were large waves on the beach, so Shireen didn't want us to go out.  We explored the beach (spotting a few more blue penguins sheltering in a rock cave) before heading to Akaroa at noon, and wandered around town for a few hours before catching the bus back to Christchurch.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Oamaru and the Moeraki Boulders

Last weekend we accompanied Tim and Judith Bell and their band (2 sons, son's girlfriend, and a family friend) to Oamaru, 4 hours south of Christchurch, for the grand opening of Annie's Victorian Tea Rooms, and an evening dance.  We all rented Victorian costumes, supplied by a huge wardrobe facility in the old Victorian precinct in Oamaru.

Oamaru is quite an interesting city.  With only about 12,000 people, it's got a number of interesting features - the old Victorian precinct with white stone buildings from the late 1800s, two types of penguins (little blue and yellow-eyed), a Steampunk Museum and sculptures on the main boulevard, and nice hills surrounding the downtown area.

Steampunk is a movement that combines science fiction and steam technology from the Victorian era.  Inspired by the early science fiction of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and feeling that society somehow got off track after this era, it has evolved into a sub-culture inspired by 19th-century visions of the future.  Steampunk has been described as "tomorrow as it used to be", and there are now steampunk books, clothing, art and design, and other cultural influences from these ideas.

We woke up Saturday at 4:30 a.m. to the sounds of little blue penguins in the car park below our lodging, but we never got to see any of them (they go out to sea early in the morning, and come up on shore again just after dark.)  They look for secure places and warmth, so occasionally end up under cars and in garages.

On Saturday morning we drove 35 minutes south of Oamaru to see the Moeraki Boulders which are spherical boulders, generally 4-6 feet across, sitting on the edge of the beach.  The boulders were created by a combination of mud, silt, clay and calcite that somehow grew outward instead of just clumping together.  They were then covered by other sediment, which preserved them.  The rocks got large cracks called septaria, and the cracks were then filled with other minerals such as quartz, calcite and dolomite limestone.  They're really quite amazing and fun to see.

Back in Oamaru, we were fitted for our costumes, and then attended the grand opening of the tea rooms, attended by about 200 people.  We heard a number of speeches from local government council officials and friends of Annie Baxter, the proprietor - she's been involved in community projects for many years, and has built up a large core of friends and supporters.  There was a Maori welcome, a ribbon cutting, and of course tea and sweets.  We then had a few hours off before going to the local Scottish hall for the evening dance.  Tim and Judith's band  (Barock) was superb, and we walked back to the hotel just after midnight.

On the way back to Christchurch we detoured inland and stopped to see some Maori rock drawings but were blocked by a small landslide.  We also stopped to see a hydro-electric power plant on the Waitaki River (New Zealand gets about 11% of its energy from hydro power), and also stopped to see the historic Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Spring in Christchurch

Back in Christchurch, we attended a 50th (advertised as 39 + 11) birthday party hosted by the lively Anna Kostic, originally from Serbia.  This was a costume party with a theme of "Wild East Meets Wild West".  There were lots of cowboys and cowgirls (mostly guys), but also some representatives from the wild east.  The birthday cake was announced by bagpipe, played by a man in full highland Scottish regalia.  There were a number of Serbian, Croatian and Bulgarian folks there, and also most of our friends from the Farandol folk dancing group.

We hosted Hanna Terwilliger, daughter of friends Ellen and Steve from Eau Claire.  We met her at the airport on Sunday after she returned from her school break trip to Australia, and then got her to her bus back to Dunedin on Monday.  It was fun to host a high-energy college student overnight - she was happy to be here, with good food, a warm bed and talk of Eau Claire.  She was also welcomed to Christchurch by a 4.4 magnitude earthquake during supper - not the biggest aftershock we've felt, but it was one of the longest. 

Cindy is a member of the Kiwi Adventure group, a gang of four friends who are all spouses of visiting scholars at the University.  They have gone to Ashburton (about an hour away), lunches, movies, op shops (Kiwi for thrift shops), and have explored the bus system, going all around Christchurch as well as out to Lyttleton and Sumner.

"Filling the Tins" was part of the Christchurch Arts Festival.  Admission was $5 or a plate (plate meaning plate of baked goods).  Cindy of course made cookies, and joined a good sized crowd for stories of New Zealand baking by Richard Till, a TV personality and former restaurant owner.

Rugby World Cup 2011 is being held in cities all over New Zealand.  Christchurch was originally meant to be a host city, but a new site had to be found as the earthquakes damaged the local main rugby stadium beyond repair.  The New Zealand national team, the All Blacks, has lots of supporters.  Christchurch is joining the celebration by hosting a Fan Zone with two large TV screens set up in Hagley Park and a small rugby field / play area for kids down the middle.  We went there and watched part of the Scotland vs. Romania game.  We are making good progress on figuring out the rules!

Spring has sprung here.  Christchurch is the garden city, and we see evidence of that all over town.  Large plots of daffodils popped up over the last two weeks in Hagley Park, and we're now seeing magnolias, camelias, cherry blossoms, and other blooming trees and bushes.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Picton to Kaikoura

We took the bus from Nelson to Picton.  Picton is a transportation hub linking several bus routes, the ferry to Wellington on the north island, and the train down to Christchurch.  We got treats at a Dutch bakery in Picton, including the item pictured below.  It's called a Lamington - this one was sponge cake with raspberry, frosted and dipped in coconut, with cream in the middle and on top.  A secret many people may not know is that Paul likes pink food - anything with strawberry, cherry or raspberry flavor.   We found this pink treat extraordinary!
A Lamington from the Dutch bakery in Picton
Happy camper
The Interislander Ferry heads out into the Marlborough Sounds on its way to Wellington
We continued our journey on the train from Picton down to Kaikoura - Cindy had found a deal where you could add one stop to the train journey for only $10 more per ticket.  We were glad we stopped in Kaikoura - it's a beautiful place, with high mountains coming down to the beaches, and a hilly peninsula.  We hiked 15 minutes from the train station to the Dolphin Lodge Backpackers, which had been recommended to us by a fellow traveler.  We weren't disappointed - it's a small place on a hill overlooking the bay and mountains, and the views were spectacular.  It rained hard overnight, which translated to a nice layer of snow in the mountains.

Mountains outside of Kaikoura
Kaikoura is known for whale tours, but we opted for a hike around the peninsula.  We packed a lunch and started out on our four and a half hour hike.  The hike starts on roads in town and winds around the edge of the peninsula past a seal colony.  At one point we heard a cough, looked in a bush, and there was a seal pup looking at us.  We saw a number of pups and adults in and around the beach.

Boardwalk trail going out the peninsula from town (note two Norfolk Island pines)
Seal pup in bush below boardwalk
Seal colony

We then headed up onto a series of hills, and walked across pastureland.  As we moved away from the water we felt like we'd been transported to Switzerland, seeing cows, with snow capped mountains in the background.  We came down the hills on the other side of the peninsula, ate our lunch at a picnic area, and had one final hiking section through the bush and some fields to get back to our hostel.  We picked up the rest of our gear and headed to the station for our train ride back to Christchurch.

Paul breaks into "The Sound of Music"
Maori sculpture over trail

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Golden Bay and Cape Farewell

We rented a car in Nelson to drive to the Golden Bay area at the top of the south island.  We retraced our Abel Tasman shuttle bus drive and stopped at a European bakery in Motueka for some treats, then drove up and over Takaka Hill (more like a mountain) pass, zigzagging our way across.  We did this with a fog rolling in, and fortunately were not able to see what was off the side of the road.  We found a good place to stay (Innlet Backpackers) between the towns of Collingwood and Pakawau, and with a few hours of daylight left kept driving north to view the sands and rocks at Wharariki Beach and see the sunset at Cape Farewell point at the very top of the south island.

The next day we drove back up to the same area, this time to do a 45-minute walk up to the Cape Farewell lighthouse, which gave us a beautiful view of the northern coast.  We could see the coves we'd hiked to the day before to the west, and to the east we saw Farewell Spit.  This protected area is a 35 km. long sand spit that curves off to make the top of Golden Bay, and is home to rare birds in the spring and summer.  We then drove back south to Te Waikoropupu Springs (locally known as Pupu Springs), a bubbling set of springs that is said to be some of the clearest water in the world.  We also visited the town of Takaka, populated by a combination of rural farmers and alternative folks who moved up in the hippie era.  We ate lunch at the excellent Wholemeal Cafe, and picked up some veggies at an organic produce stand just outside of town.  We then drove back across the mountain pass (this time with sun and clear views), and headed back to Nelson.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Abel Tasman National Park

We booked a visit to Abel Tasman National Park, about an hour or so north of Nelson.  Abel Tasman is the smallest national park in New Zealand, but one of the most beautiful.  We first got a shuttle bus through the town of Motueka, picking up the driver's dog in town, and continued on to Marahau on the edge of the park.  We were joined by Helen, a young woman from Aberdeen, Scotland.  We first got a water taxi ride to Bark Bay, about halfway up the coast of the park.  The three of us hiked 2.5 hours from Bark Bay down to Torrent Bay, where we were again to be picked up by water taxi.  The beach was very gradual here, so we had to take off our shoes and socks and wade out into knee-deep cold ocean water (remember: it's winter here) to climb up on the boat.  After another short water taxi ride we were dropped off at Watering Cove, where we met John, our young kayaking guide.  We had lunch on the edge of the beach at this beautiful cove, then started off in two tandem kayaks for a three hour trip around two of the local islands and back to Marahau.  John happily shared his extensive knowledge of the area and the wildlife, and we saw seals up close, as well as sea urchins, birds, and crabs.  We finally paddled back to Marahau, and took the shuttle bus back to Nelson.  We had patches of sun, clouds, rain, and fog during the day, but whatever the weather we had a great time.  This trip was one of the highlights of our time in New Zealand so far.

Monday, 5 September 2011

In and Around Nelson

A very nice six-hour bus ride brought us from Greymouth up the west coast and across the north to Nelson, a city of about 44,000 people on the Tasman Bay at the top of the south island.  We stayed for several nights at Accents on the Park, a backpackers' hostel which feels more like an old hotel and is well located close to the city centre.  Royce, one of the owners, is charming and enthusiastic, and he and his staff helped us significantly with our exploration of the local parks, museums, and natural attractions.

Accents on the Park (backpackers' hostel) in Nelson
The cathedral in Nelson is named Christ Church Cathedral, though it is not as spectacular as the destroyed cathedral in Christchurch itself.  The architectural style is a rather strange combination of Neo-Gothic and Art Deco - apparently the local population couldn't decide on which they preferred.  We thought it was enhanced by the large daffodil that appeared on the cathedral steps for Daffodil Day, a fundraising day for the New Zealand cancer society.

The first full day in Nelson we traveled to Founders Heritage Park, where many of the old Nelson buildings from a century ago have been moved to create a museum village.  The park includes several working craft shops and businesses, including the Founders Organic Brewery where Paul got a six-beer tasting sample and met the 5th generation brewmaster, John Duncan.  The park also has a maritime museum with one of the largest collections of "ships in a bottle" in the world.

Just a few of the many "ships in a bottle" at the Founders Park maritime museum

Paul being served by John Duncan, Founders Organic Brewery brewmaster
Lagers and ales, ales and lagers...
Good to the last glass...
The second day we visited the lively farmers' market, the Nelson Provincial Museum, the Suter Art Gallery and the neighboring Queens' Gardens.  The city has a strong arts community, making it an enjoyable city to visit.
Curry from the Hare Krishna booth at the Farmers Market - $5 per plate, $2 for a refill (Paul took advantage of this)
Nelson tea towels
The third day we took a bus to the suburb of Annesbrook to visit the WOW Museum - the World Of Wearable art and Classic Cars Museum.  It's an unusual combination, but it works.  The wearable art fashion show started in Nelson in 1987, and the annual show, which attracts professional and amateur designers from all over the world, has been moved to Wellington and runs for 10 days.  The wearable art museum itself is small but fascinating, with examples of standout entries in past shows.  Many seem surreal in combining abstract art with the human form as clothing.  Photos are not allowed in the Wearable Art section, so we only have a photo of the outside banner, which shows a relatively ordinary example.  See the World of Wearable Art web site for some additional information, photos and videos if you're interested.

Wish we could rent one of these for a few days...

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Okarito, Greymouth and Punakaiki (The Pancake Rocks)

We drove back north from the glacier country, and stopped in Okarito, a small coastal town back from the main road, that we’d heard has a nice lagoon with kayaking options and much bird life.  Okarito also happens to be the home of the author Keri Hulme, whose novel “The Bone People” is a New Zealand classic that Paul was just reading.  Well, in winter Okarito apparently goes from quiet to dead – the kayak rental business was “closed until Thursday” (we were there on a Wednesday), there were no open shops or stores, and the only people we saw were two workers in a city park.  We walked around the edge of the lagoon, and while there were some birds, it wasn’t exactly a nature reserve.  We soon headed back to the highway.

Oystercatcher on shore of Okarito lagoon
Duck on an old pier post
Old boat house at Okarito

We stayed overnight in Greymouth.  This is the largest city on the west coast, but is mostly a coal town with a fair number of businesses closed in the downtown.  We found a wonderful backpackers hostel there called Global Village, which is decorated in African arts and crafts.  They did everything right, from providing free desserts and sandwiches in the evening to having sharp knives in their kitchen. 

Our room at the Global Village Backpackers in Greymouth
There is one attraction in the Greymouth area.  About 30 minutes north along the coast is Punakaiki, the pancake rocks and blowholes.  As our Lonely Plant tour book says, “through a layering – weathering process called stylobedding, the Dolomite Point limestone has formed into what looks like piles of thick pancakes.”  When the tide is in, and the ocean is stormy, the water roars through the blowholes in the rocks.  We checked it twice when we drove out, and then the bus out of town stopped there for half an hour the next day.   This third visit was the charm – given the rougher seas that day, we got to see the blowholes in fairly good action.

Pancake Rocks
Blowhole at Punakaiki
Kiwi crossing...
Followed by a penguin crossing not too far up the highway...