The wind had swung round to the north, bringing back warmth with the sunshine. We knew there was no shop at Punakaiki so we called in to the supermarket in Greymouth town centre to stock up. It’s a shock how much food a pair of cyclists gets through in two days and we were hard pressed to squeeze it all into our panniers. As we were on the point of departure our Scottish friend arrived, resplendant in tartan cycling shorts, so it was 12:05 before we left.

The first section was fairly level, then hilly as the road hugged the coastline, but the dramatic ocean views of waves breaking on rocks compensated us for the inclines. We were starting to get a bit tired, then saw a familiar figure cycling towards us – Ivo! He was staying at the Seaside too, but since we hadn’t used the kitchen we hadn’t seen him. He’d been up to Punakaiki for the day, cycling without luggage, and had seen dolphins. Tomorrow he’d be heading over Arthur’s Pass to Christchurch.

The road diverged from the coast but kept the hills, then rejoined it at our destination where we rewarded ourselves with ice-creams before calling in to the information centre. Then to the Motor Park, a quirky establishment, basic but very spacious. Again we hired a tourist cabin to gain use of pans and plates but the cooker was so awful we carried them down to the communal kitchen! Soft bed again, yuk!

After dinner we enjoyed a beautiful walk along the shingle beach as the sun sank. We continued round to see the pancake rocks and blowhole at their dramatic high tide best with the failing light adding mystery to the scene.

Day 18: Rain Forest Walk