From now on, I will be sharing my past travels as part of my Travel Throwback Thursday #TTBT series.
After seeing Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers, it was time to see what our unplanned portion of our trip would take us. Passing through Hokitika to rest after visiting the glaciers, Hans Bay Camping area was a nice place to relax and plan our next adventures.
Known for its proximity to Punakaiki, Greymouth is a great place to refuel before heading to the natural, rocky coastline to watch the waves crash against the limestone rocks and blow water out. The tourist destination is called Pancake Rocks for the resemblance to a stack of thin pancakes. Walkways make navigating the rocks and blowholes easy. Listening to the natural sounds was relaxing and had me thinking of whales spouting water.
Punakaiki Caves were nearby and can be explored. However, to avoid the crowds, we found Fox River Caves instead. Unlike Punakaiki Caves, Fox River Caves is an hour and a half tramp from the road. The cave track shared sections of the Inland Pack Track and had a few river crossings. After reaching the cave, we spent another 30 to 45 minutes exploring the upper cave. The cavern walls were white from calcium deposits and coarse similar to sandpaper. Rooms broke away from the main cavern, and we explored what we could as the stalactites and stalagmites microscopically grew. All four of us met in our college outdoor club, where we would go caving. It was fun to explore another cave with Kyle and Danielle outside of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Lyell was my favorite DOC site even though it was hard to find. Lyell was a booming gold rush town with little presence today due to an earthquake. The stars were clear without nearby light pollution. We tried to find the Southern Cross since we were in the Southern Hemisphere and are not able to see it from home.
Murchison is a small town known for its whitewater adventures. After booking a tour with Buller Adventure Tours from an I-Site in Hokitika, we were all excited for another outdoor adventure to experience in New Zealand. The tour consisted of five rafts with a guide for each. After collecting our thermal, gear, wetsuits, booties, rain jackets, and life jackets, we were ready to hit the rapids!
Our guide was Doc, who ironically owned the rafting company. Doc’s many years on the river led to crazy stories, along with local New Zealand knowledge of plants and trees. Heading down the rapids, we reached the first one called Foreplay. We shared our raft with a married couple from Germany. Buller River has Class II, III, and IV rapids, and our tour traveled 11 kilometers. Earthquake Slip Rapids is a grade 4 and created by a large earthquake in the area. Even though it does not get extremely warm in New Zealand, we decided to jump in and swim some rapids, along with a couple of 9 meter cliff jumps.
Buller River was bluish-gray and decently clear. The mountains were covered in green trees. After the rafting, lunch was provided, which was delicious and well deserved.
What is your favorite outdoor activity while traveling?
More in this series:
- Two and a Half Weeks through New Zealand
- Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula
- Milford Sound – A Photo Essay
- Kayaking the Doubtful Sound
- Queenstown – Trekking and Celebrating a New Year
- Wanaka – Tramping Rob Roy Peak and Glacier
- Touring the Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers for Free
- Nelson, New Zealand
- Mountain Biking above the Queen Charlotte Sound
- Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry