The next two days were a lot of driving, we had a lot of ground to cover and lots to see in between. The first morning we woke up earlier than usual to fit everything into the day. Our first stop was one of Abel Tasman’s landmarks, Split Apple Rock. It’s a perfectly round rock that somehow split in half. And it sits above the water too, making it a weird natural phenomenon. It’s a bit of a hike down, which we were surprised with so early in the morning, but we crushed it. It was also a beautiful beach and really nice to see so early in the morning.
After our little hike, we continued to drive and went to Nelson Lakes National Park, known for, you guessed it, its lakes. We stopped at Lake Rotoroa, one of the bigger lakes, it has a water a taxi you can take from one end to the other, but we stopped at a camping and picnic area. There was a dock with a picnic table at the end, so that’s where we chose to have our lunch. The water taxi showed up while we were eating there, it stopped right beside us, it was a little tin boat, really cute. We took a group picture on the dock, and said goodbye to yet another gorgeous picnic spot.
Then came the longest part of our drive. I can’t remember if I’ve covered this or not, but none of the other girls really liked sitting in the front (I have no idea why) . So most days I was either driving or sitting in the passenger seat. Which was nice for two reasons, I had lots of space to do my own things on the long drives, but I also got to take sneaky sleeping pics.
They were asleep for most of the drive, so Lucy and I talked and awwed over the beautiful forest we were driving through. We were driving to the west coast of the island, but were in the north east region, so we took one highway that just crossed through the entire island. It was really beautiful. There were lots of bridges and gorges and cliff sides, all covered in so many trees. As the mountains started to grow we were seeing the beginnings of the Southern Alps, which stretch across the entire west side of the south island. Eventually we hit the coast and all the trees disappeared and it felt like we were back in Kaikoura. With huge beaches and large cliffs stretching for miles along the coast. Our last stop of the day was a strange place called pancake rocks. It’s one of natures great mysteries. No one is sure how these rock formations came to be but of course there are many theories. I thought it was most strange because they are only here. No where else on the coasts are there rocks like this. And it’s a huge field of them, and they’re quite tall. The area is also filled with blow holes, gaps in the rocks that spit up water when the waves crash into them just right, we didn’t see that happen though when we were there, but there are lots of pictures there capturing the occurrence.
I think the photos will explain why they’re called pancake rocks. (or maybe they should be called stack of pancake rocks).
After enjoying the beautiful weather, picking up a postcard, grabbing a coffee and swtiching drivers, the driving continued. We hit a point where our last activity we wanted to do was too out of the way to make it that day, so we cut it and kept going. At one point we found ourselves in a small town called Hari Hari. When I say small town, I mean there were 7 houses and a gas station. That’s it. There are a number of towns like this in New Zealand, since so much of the country is country and unpopulated. This started a conversation between me and Steph (the new driver) about how anyone would choose to live in such small towns and questioning what they do for fun. This lead to the joke “sorry mom, i’m moving to Hari Hari” After such a long day in the car, we were all losing it. Everything became funny. It took Steph four attempts to drive the car through the gas station to get the car up to the pump, some guy pulled into our spot so we were all opening the windows to try and speak to him. Then just as we were driving away Steph used the window spray and wipers. At the was the beginning of the end. You see, our windshield wipers don’t work. They just make it worse. So Steph now can’t seen through the windshield, so we pull over, and me and we’re all laughing about that, and about Hari Hari, and how we’re all going to move there. Anyways Steph had to step out and wipe the windshield, here’s a funny photo of the event.
It was a really funny ending to a kind of lazy day. I know it doesnt sound lazy because we did a lot, but seriously, there was a lot of driving. And as always our day ended with our night on a campsite with our girl Shelley. I went to bed excited for our next day in the glaciers.