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Previous Day See: Day 6 - Karamea

Day 7 – Karamea to Greymouth – Re-write

This is the second attempt at writing up Day 7 – Hubby says that my first attempt was too grumpy and I need to be more upbeat or people won’t read it!

I woke up grumpy, and then we had an awful day of weather, so it didn’t help! But here goes – the upbeat version.


There is a reason why New Zealand is so green, and why Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand, means ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’.

Yes – it rains here.

New Zealand does not have the same kind of climate as Australia, which can be a surprise to some tourists here. The climate is temperate, especially on the West Coast of South Island. In fact, it is renowned for being wet, so a sunny day is a bonus.


Denniston is an old coalmining town, and as we were passing we had to make a detour. The road just turns and climbs up to 1610 metres, with a couple of 1st gear corners. We passed into the clouds and slightly above, but still torrential rain and high winds. We decided Denniston was closed and came stright back down.

Punakaiki – Pancake Rocks and Blowholes

Bad weather does have its bonuses. The West Coast road between Westport and Greymouth runs right next to the sea, and on a stormy day the coastline is dramatic. The waves crash in, and there are more white tips than blue in between.

Punakaiki pancake rocks

One very dramatic place to see the sea, and the result of erosion from the waves, is at the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki.

The pancake rocks are made of limestone, which is in layers. The sea is wearing the rocks away, highlighting the layers. The sea has also eroded underneath the rocks, forming impressive rock formations and canyons, which on a day when the sea is rough (which it very definitely was today!) are awash with some impressive surf. Occasionally, the surf hits the canyons in such a way that a ‘blowhole’ forces the water upwards.


There is a visitors centre, and a couple of shops with cafes. DOC have obviously spent some time and money on the paths to the rocks and blowholes – the paths are well laid out, and easy to follow.

South Beach Holiday Park, Greymouth

Greymouth as a town is not as picturesque as some, but it provides all the major services for the surrounding area. South Beach is about 6 kilometers out of town, past the main industrial area.

There’s nothing too dramatic about the South Beach Holiday Park , but it provides all the amenities we need. There’s a small kitchen (which maybe could have been a bit bigger, and certainly could have done with a bigger fridge) and a lounge, and a facilities block with a laundry. It was all very clean,which is our most important criteria. We had more than enough space in our cabin – in fact, there were enough beds for 7 people! It is near the main road though, to there is some traffic noise. On the other hand, it is a short 2 minute walk to the beach on the other side.

South Beach has the same dramatic waves as the rest of the coast (not very good for swimming), and the sand is grey too. Allin all an interesting rather than a pretty beach. Price $45 per night with a Kiwi holiday park discount card.

Sand flies still on the low side, not too many bites

Next day: Day 8 – Greymouth

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terris_travelogue/south_island/day_07.txt · Last modified: 2010/11/10 09:13 by art
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