Exactly as I predicted, Christmas day arrived right on time but I wasn’t conscious to brag about it. It wasn’t till the sun had risen well into the sky did I stir from my slumber to the now well accustomed sound of the morning ritual of the sand-fly blitz, bombing my tent.
Christmas day was bathed in sunshine, yet again, not a cloud in the sky, the day was perfect.
I grabbed my camera and staggered down to the surf to take a shot of the first fine Christmas day I’ve had in over 10 years. There I met some young lasses from England, even at 8am they were already well alight with one bottle of wine dead and another already suffering the advanced stages of the same fate that caused the demise of the first one, a bad case of consumption I presume. Christmas day being hot and sunny was new experience to them, but hey, at the rate the wine was going down I doubted if they were going to remember much of it anyway.
Our plans for today, was that we had no plans, other than to head south, down the West coast.
After a quick breakfast we laid the rubber to the road and off we did go.
We had made plans to jog on south at a healthy clip and to stop the night at Punakiki.
Punakiki is famous for its pancake rock formations and blow hole.
nothing happening folks.
However there’s always another show in town we just got stuck in and made the most of the situation taking advantage of the nesting White Fronted terns as they wheeled and dived catching small fish below us as we perched above them nestled into the rocks.
We feasted that night with a fantastic Christmas dinner at the lovely tavern in Punakiki charged our laptops in the motel and hit the sack.
The next morning the place really went off
Boxing Day found us continuing our southern journey, aiming at spending the night at Okarito. We took our time making our way south dropping into popular holiday spots watching the people making the most their Christmas holidays during an absolutely cracker summer on the Coast.
We dropped into Hokitika for lunch where I ordered a piece of fish and a scoop of chips, what I received was two fillets of fish which must have been the best part of a whole side of a decent sized Great White Shark and a sack of spuds sized helping of chips.
Around the small township of Hari Hari the lowland Kahikatea or White Pine forests become very prominent, so a quick diversion out to the coast to enjoy them was called for.
The tiny settlement of Hari Hari is famous just for being Hari Hari, a destination for hunters and fisher-people; (no sexism with this dude) if one has the time a trip out to the coast from Hari Hari is a worthwhile detour.
A walk along the Poerua River, part of the Hari Hari Coastal Walkway, reveals a little insight into the West Coast life style enjoyed by the locals. White-baiting cribs line the river bank, birdlife aplenty inhabit the trees and with the sun bleating down it was very pleasant to walk the track, Dragonflies kept us amused for a while, ever tried to photograph Dragonflies?
Boxing Day was just another red letter summers days on the West Coast.
Lake Wahapo is one of those places that you know there is a killer shot ,I’ve tried a few times but I still have nothing that comes close to really showing off the beauty of the place.
Okarito is a wonderful place to visit , the boathouse makes for a wonderful picture and inside is worth a quick look as it holds a bit of information about the local history.
We set up our tents at the camping ground at Okarito and I have to put in a good word people of Okarito.
The camp ground at Okarito has electricity and free cooking facilities. Hot showers are available and even a phone. The people of Okarito sure want to make sure you feel welcome and you do.
Tomorrow was to be a big day for us and a major highlight of the trip for me, the sand-flies at Okarito it seems had obeyed Gods command to fly forth and multiply they came in to attack me in squadrons