November 2, 2016
Since we've gotten back from this trip, I've been telling people that the West Coast of the South Island is worth the flight to New Zealand, on its own. Even if you were to simply fly to New Zealand, rent a car, drive down the coast, and fly home, it would be worth it just to see this coastline. Every time you round a corner you start humming the theme from Jurassic Park because the scenery is just so unbelievable and otherworldly. Giant rock formations right up against the ocean, totally deserted roadways except for the occasional (rare) car. Very few buildings, just winding roads along the coast and tons of "scenic lookout" spots to pull over and enjoy the view.
We made a brief stop in a town called Westport, where we gassed up the car and visited another wildlife preserve that allegedly had Kiwi's in it. Sure enough, there were kiwis and we actually go to see one of them running around and making noise. Worth it.
We hit the road and headed further down the coast, eventually stopping near Punakaiki at a series of rock formations known as "Pancake Rocks." I'll take the non-geologist route again here and let the pictures do the talking. Not far from the rock formation we found our next B&B, an -extremely- remote location that was no more than hundred feet from the Tasman Sea. The B&B was called "Perfect Strangers" and sat right on the beach. We just spent a single night here. In the morning I tried (and failed) to cook with crumpets, an underripe avocado, and the fresh eggs we got from our B&B back in Nelson. The eggs deserved better. After that disaster we packed up and continued down the coast towards Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier in the morning.