Sunday, March 13, 2011


While Steven was here from the USA, we decided to spend a couple of days on the West (Wet) Coast.  I'm a typical New Zealander, in the fact that I've visited lots of places overseas, but hardly seen my own country.  So most of the places we visited, with the exception of Greymouth, was my first time I had been there.  Shameful isn't it?

The West Coast is renowned for rain, so our first day there was quite surprising, as you will see from the photos.  It didn't last though.  The last two days were so wet I couldn't even get the camera out for fear of drowning it!

First stop was Westport. Westport is located on the northern bank and at the mouth of the Buller River close by the prominent headland of Cape Foulwind.  The population of the Westport is approximately 5000.

We drove through the main road and shops and came to a little marina of fishing boats so stopped to take photos.  This would be the Buller River.

The water is brown because of the recent heavy rain the day before we came over.

Steven particularly liked this part of Westport as his name is Steven John so felt that the fishing boat pictured was his!

We then drove a bit further to take a look at the beach...

This is looking north towards Karamea.

And south to the Buller River mouth. With all the driftwood washed up, it looks like it can be pretty wild, but today, it was relatively calm for a West Coast Beach.

We decided to head further down the coast to see the Pancake Rocks and sightsee on the way. So our next stop was to drive out on the causeway to the lighthouse at the mouth of the river, and have a look at Carters Beach while we were there. I couldn't leave the area without seeing a beach with the same name as me!!

This is the mouth of the river. Not only is there the red lighthouse over on the other side, there was a green one just to the left of where I took the photo.

This is looking downriver towards the hills we had just driven across.

And this is Carter's beach. It lives up to our name - Beautiful, Wild, Unpredictable!! I'm sure others will add a few names to this!!!

Lots of Seabirds around. This is a Caspian Tern.  I love their black heads, reminds me of pirates for some reason!

The usual Red Beaked Gull...

and the occasional one-legged variety!

Then we drove to Cape Foulwind which is approximately 10 kmh south of the township of Westport. It is a prominent headland overlooking the Tasman Sea. It was previously named Rocky Cape by Abel Tasman, the first European to visit it, in 1642. The present name was bestowed upon this promontory by English explorer James Cook in 1770 after his ship Endeavour was blown quite a distance offshore from this point.

On this particular day, the only foul wind came from ... erm ... nuff said!

As the afternoon was getting on, we decided to do a 10 minute walk up to the Lighthouse only, rather than the full hour trek around the coast and back which would have taken about 2 hours. We then drove to Tauranga Bay to have a look at the other side of the cape instead to save us time.

The path was full of yellow daisies with honey bees - so couldn't resist a bit of macro photography on the way up!

Found a Crimson Speckled Footman moth as well (according to my online Skype Encyclopedia from Capetown!)

The path up to the Lighthouse.

Views from the top...

Looking back from where we had come from - you can see the mouth of the River and that tiny white thing (lighthouse) on the causeway.

The bush on the cape was quite scrubby. But perfect camouflage and nesting for our South Island Weka...

Who insisted on joining us for lunch.

I'm always amazed at how red their eyes are. Looks like they've been imbibing on a bit too much MJ.

We then drove to the other side of the Cape to have a look at Tauranga Bay...

Absolutely gorgeous and I would imagine when the tide is in it would be a fairly safe place to swim. As long as there is no foul wind.

We took another short walk up to the point to try and see the seal colony, but all we really got were views. If you're looking for seals, the best place to really see them is Kaikoura.

I did find this round the corner though. I turned towards london and waved to Jay, then tried to imagine where Amsterdam was and waved to Anne. Did you guys see me?

Looking up the coast. This side of the cape I think was much prettier.

Next stop: Pancake Rocks!


Morgan said...

I read in the news they've named a place there after you since your return. The place where the foul winds occurred is now called Puhuwhata.

Lovely pics.

Robyn said...

I wonder if you should relocate Phil there?

Might be just the place for him :)