Jewel of the North

Heading up the west coast of the South Island was a pretty low key, relaxing few days


Stopped off at Punakaiki to check out the pancake rocks


which were created over many years through a natural process called stylobedding. Interestingly (or not), these stylobedded rocks lie at about the same latitude and just on the opposite side of the Tasman Sea as the tessellated pavement. And within a few days, this blog should be the first and only Google search result for tessellated stylobedded. Anyone excited about that besides me?

Below the pancake rocks there’s an enormous cauldron where the sea water rushes in and the pressure rises


until naturally created blow holes erupt


Pretty cool to see.

I had heard that West Coasters, separated from the rest of New Zealand by the Southern Alps, tend to march to a different beat


Nice driveway for me to decide to turn around in.

Up to the northwest by the second day, I headed inland along the Buller Gorge


and before the day was over I had arrived in Nelson on the north coast. Still a few beach goers after 5 p.m.


On the other side of the bay is Abel Tasman National Park, and I decided to head over there the next morning.

It was looking pretty good on the water taxi ride in


Split Apple Rock, made entirely of granite and cut almost perfectly in half, supposedly by a glacier


Once on land there is no letdown in the scenery


The hiking trails take you pretty high up in some places



Definitely didn’t let go of that tree, it was almost straight down to the sea behind me


Pretty amazing to wonder through dense woods like these


and emerge to a view like this


Abel Tasman is an absolute beauty and was the perfect place to say goodbye to the South Island after twelve glorious days.

Today I drove onto an Interislander car ferry, and after three hours at sea crossing the Cook Strait, I find myself on New Zealand’s North Island. It’s got a tough act to follow.

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