West Coast Trip with Sue

If you’re looking for a trip you can take for 48hrs, let me tell you, at New Year we found the ultimate!

Don and I joined Judy and Randall for a whirlwind trip through the Arthurs Pass and back over the Lewis. Our 48hrs was jam packed with great fun, good food (and wine) and plenty of sightseeing!

After a quick debrief at Springfield we took our tops down and headed off.  The scenery changes constantly as you drive around hills, over mountain passes, across rivers, past lakes and ski fields.

At Arthurs Pass we stopped for more coffee, and watch the cheeky kea entertain everyone picking at leftover food on the tables. It was here Randall said, “Let’s spice it up, and head inland at Jacksons.” It had been years since I went through this way, and I couldn’t believe the development and new holiday homes that were at Lake Brunner. To be honest I could have stayed here, looking out over the lake.

Pulling into Greymouth, the town is vibrant and of course the wee convertibles created some interest. Lunch over, we were off to the West Coast Treetop Walk, 15 minutes south of Hokitika. This lovely treetop adventure is set amid awesome rainforest. It was easy access and we enjoyed walking along the steel platform 20 metres high and over 450 metres long. At 40 metres above the forest floor Hokitika Tower is challenging but the resulting view to the Southern Alps and Tasman Sea is breathtaking. The exquisite views over Lake Mahinapua took me back to my youth where I sailed with the Mahinapua Yacht Club.

Judy and Randall took the lead again and we headed for the Hokitika Gorge which, in all my times staying at Hokitika I had never seen. The gorge is 33 kms from Hokitika on the Kaniere-Kowhitirangi Rd and is truly a gem. Vivid turquoise, deep, deep water surrounded by beautiful bush and lots of bird life. This was a highlight of the trip.

The next morning we headed north to Punakaiki hoping for high tide and a good view of the blow holes. While we did miss high tide we still enjoyed a good show, and of course the view right up the Coast is breathtaking.

The day finished in Westport, but not before a trip up to Denniston Coal Mine. It was easy to spend a couple of hours wandering out to the point walkway with a fabulous view up and down the Coastline and that steep unforgiving incline that saw carriages full of coal roar down the valley. Back at the car park you can pull on a lamp and hard hat and join a guided tour, or simply wander around and envelop yourself in the amazing pictorial history and marvel at the strength of the people that lived here. (This could be worth a full story another time.)

We finished the day at the Melbourne Hotel, Westport; the epitome of great West Coast hospitality.

The smell of the bush, listening to the cicadas and hearing the waterfalls as we travelled back through the Lewis made the trip complete.  A fantastic 48hrs!