Friday, February 15, 2013

A trip to the beautiful Westcoast of New Zealand, Fr 15 Feb

Friday, February 15, 2013
oldbearnews editor Holiday is nearly over  :( 

Leisurely morning breakfast, then we cleaned the house having brought in some sand from on of our trips home. Packed the car and drove of towards Greymouth.  No urgent rush to get home - as long as we are back for dinner - our boys would be happy. (they are cooking for us)
Stopped yet again at the local Info center - had seen a flyer for a greenstone carver who is the great-great-something-son of one of the early Maori chiefs. I wanted to catchup with him to see if he would take youth on a field trip and do some carving.  Met his wife instead and had good chat about greenstone mattters.  

From there it was back to a petrol station to tank up for the 300 + km back home and we decided to visit the local beach and have picnic lunch there.   
Hot sunny day and lots of wave action.  The beach at Greymouth is a shingle beach type - not a drop of sand to be seen - so for a start the waves against the beach make a lot more noise.  It is also a steep-ish beach - so no lounging around  or getting feet wet - let alone swimming.  Actually it can suck you out into the Sea if you not careful. Had some of the Salami we picked up from Blackball earlier in the week. Yummy flavour - and seeing mamabear is not in favour of it - there remained more of it for me to enjoy!  Eventually had to say good-bye - very very tempted to stay and sit in the sun till sundown.  Had un-eventful drive to Arthurs Pass.  The air was a bit clearer - so stopped and took a handful more pictures of the Southern Rata.  While there, 2 or 3 cheeky Keas roamed around the car park.  They are our alpine parrots and are true clowns - but make no mistake - they are also EXTREMELY  intelligent.  They can solve difficult puzzles and get their food from almost anywhere and know how to work together. One learns from the other by observing and develop the team work from there.  Many a car owner lost some rubber seal from doors and hubcaps and - hehehe - very recently, one unsuspecting tourist lost his cash (as one cheeky Kea entered his car via a open door window and opened his wallet left lying of the dashboard and took out his paper money leaving him stranded with no cash - it made the news papers). One other chap once lost his car keys . . . . .

Back on the road and made good time for Christchurch - eventually getting to the outskirts around 4.30pm-ish.  Saw a sign advising how far to Picton and I said coolly to mamabear - 'Hmmm - I don't feel like going home - we can make Picton for late dinner - fancy a drive up there??"  Sadly reason and sanity (AND the need to EARN more cash) meant we did the decent thing and went home instead.  About 10 km from home we met the first set of traffic lights.  Sigh - back to civilization.
We have done 1598 km of travel and that was the first traffic light we'd seen since we left Christchurch.  There are none on the  Westcoast (except one recently installed at Hawks Craig - near Westport / Buller - an ugly one-lane only  turn around a corner with no direct clear sight - so now that makes cornering that particular stretch of road much safer).  

Also have to say - in all that time we saw only one police car on the road!! Probably just as well - *grins*

Recently (at the beg of February) there has been the famous annual 'Coast to Coast' race where you run / cycle / kayak  from the Kumara Beach on the Westcoast to the Sumner Beach on the East coast.  It is a long hard day of slog and guts.   However I am also acutely aware of many doing the opposite - watching the sunrise at Christchurch then drive over to the Coast and watch the sunset at some beach over there.  If you do this in Summer you possible would need to sleep on the coast before heading home as sunrise is around 4.30 am and Sunset can be as late as 9 pm.  Then again if you do this in mid winter ….

Oh and by way of information:
Barrytown is a town in the West Coast region of New Zealand's South Island and it sits on State Highway 6 and is 21 km north of Runanga.
Punakaiki is 16 km further north.
The town is near the southern end of Pakiroa Beach.
The population of Barrytown and its surrounds was 225 in the 2006 Census, an increase of 33 from 2001.
1991 Census - 213,  1996 Census - 216,  2001 Census- 195,  2006 Census - 225.
Wonder what it will be this year??
It has a full primary school (years 1-8) with a roll of hmmm 12 children in year 2008

Barrytown was settled in the 1860s and was a centre for gold dredging.

Ah well - that's the end of our trip.
Time to save more dough for the next trip.
Time to sort through the 600 plus pictures taken and ENJOY my own Bed.  Sleeping in your own bed - like they say in the Master-card advertisement - PRICELESS!!

Have fun

 bear print

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