Cape Foulwind and the Pancake Rocks

I haven’t had cell service in a week, so I am a bit behind on my posts.

On the Westcoast of the South island, there is a lighthouse called Cape Foulwind. Wonderful name, subpar lighthouse.

There also is a seal colony nearby, where I counted no fewer than fifteen lounging among the sun-heated rocks.

I liked this tree.

Further south, there are rock formations called the pancake rocks, named such for the unique wearing pattern of the rocks themselves.

It is a short walk with nice views.


Luckily, the rain abated for the day I was at this campground, including during a spectacular sunset.

I tried to start my van the next morning, only to discover the battery was dead.

Got a jump from a friend and moved it over to do the hike.

The hike is the start of the Heaphy Trek, a four-day “Great Walk.”

The scenery is beautiful. I was hiking with a wonderful woman who saw the beauty in every tree and flower. It made me appreciate the scenery around me a bit more.

The hike ended up taking a good portion of the day.

Unfortunately, it was too rainy to see another sunset, but it was still a nice, relaxing evening.

Oparara Basin and Lord of the Sandflies

My friend Pedro just finished his tour around New Zealand. As he was going about the South Island, he was sending me GPS coordinates of his favorite places. His other gps coordinates had been spot on, so I made it up to the one he sent a few hours north of where I was staying.

I arrived at the point and was greeted with…an intersection. Nothing special about it as far as I could tell. I snooped around for a bit, but didn’t have any clue where he could be pointing me.

I decided to turn off the GPS and just follow the road. I ended up down a rough dirt road at the Oparara basin.

On the walk to the basin, I ended up waist deep in water. My jeans did not take it well. You didn’t have to get wet, nor did anyone else on the trail end up wet, I just must have misheard some local’s directions. Whoops.

I took the long way around to dry off.

Afterwards, I headed to the nearby campsite Pedro also recommended a nearby campsite, called Kohaihai. The campsite is my second favorite in New Zealand, after the Spirit’s Bay near Cape Reinga. The beach stretches as far as the eye can see, and huge waves break one after another against the oversized rocks.

The campsite really looks like it should be in that episode of Black Mirror with the couple who is in the idyllic world and it turns out they are actually old and a copy of their consciousness lives on in the idyllic world after they die while Belinda Carlise’s classic hit “Heaven is a Place on Earth” plays in the background. Yeh, you know the one.

Cool place.

But the sandflies. Man, they are out in droves. They’re like worse, harder to spot mosquitoes. Bug spray doesn’t seem to work and they manage to sneak in everywhere.

But still, cool place.

Lake Rotoroa

A short post for a short day.

I’m making my way south to the glaciers, but frequently distracted by signs, bringing me to Lake Rotoroa.

It was raining the entire day, with fog set against the forested mountains.

I also met a nice family to do a short hike with. They were well traveled and know a lot about the world. And politics, unfortunately.

Good day.

Wharariki Beach

I was confused by a woman taking pictures of me leaving the bathroom this morning. She was a journalist writing an article on freedom campers and asked me some questions. I hope she doesn’t use that photo if she publishes a story, especially because she seemed to slant against freedom camping.

I headed up to Wharariki beach fifteen minutes north of my campsite. What I thought would just be a beach had a few hikes in the area. One went along the hills and cliffs by the ocean.

I met a nice German woman, and we ended up doing the first half together.

What started as a simple hike soon turned into a scramble to find a local. One of the sheep fell over a cliff, and was stuck down on a ledge, unable to get back up.

I jogged down the hills to find someone to let know, but there are very few people living near. I eventually found a campground and explained it to the owner.

Turns out someone had reported it yesterday as well. Get it together Darrel and get your sheep.

Back to the hike, there were lush rolling hills, as well as wind that almost knocked me over a few times.

I made an excuse at the top so I could leave the German woman in favor of a more difficult route. She was getting winded and I still had a lot of energy left.

The way back went much quicker.