The weather continued to keep us guessing, today starting cool and cloudy. We walked down to the rocks and blowholes for the morning high tide, the waves stoked up by the wind firing fine spray up high from the blowholes. Waves hammered onto the rocks sending white foam soaring into the air, cameras from basic compacts to sophisticated SLRs attempting to catch the moment.
While we were taking breakfast at the Wild Coast Café – café latté and maple syrup pancakes – the wind was pushing the clouds over the mountains to reveal a warm sunny day. Its work done, the wind obligingly subsided.
We set off on the Porarari River to Bullock Creek walk. An easy walk of 2km along a path through the rainforest brought us to the Porarari River crossing where we ate before shedding our footwear to ford the river, fortunately very low as the water was cold. Over on the other side the track was very muddy in places with frequent reminders to keep to it – potholes up to 40m deep lay alongside!
A South Island robin mistook Christine’s shoelaces for a worm and made several attempts to carry it off. This was a marvellous walk through a riot of rainforest vegetation to the sound of rustling leaves and birdsong. All too soon we arrived at Bullock Creek Road, a gravel road leading down to the highway, an anticlimax to this walk but not without interest. On our left the vertical tree-clad cliffs reminded us of parts of France. Bullock Creek was totally dry – under normal conditions it disappears underground, surfacing nearer the road. In flood it reoccupies its old course.
After regaining the highway we walked along it a short way before taking the Truman Track to the ocean, a delightful 15 minute stroll through sub-tropical foliage – podocarp and rata trees, vines and nikau palms to cliffs, caverns and a blowhole.
Day 19: Elizabeth Point