What do you do when you are in a town where four straight days of rain cause a dam to break, stranding tourists and forcing locals to evacuate their homes? Well, we decided leave Nelson behind and head for the hills of Kahurangi National Park where DOC huts provide good shelter and warmth (if you are lucky).
We spent four days in the park, hiking around the Arthur Ranges and staying in various huts along the way. We relaxed our pace and covered just enough ground each day to reach our destination in time to dry out our soaking wet gear every night. Our time was mostly spent tending to wood stoves, reading, drinking wine and sleeping. After three days of downpour and howling winds, the sky cleared for a few hours which allowed a much appreciated opportunity to make for the Summit of Gordon’s Pyramid (1489m) and Mount Arthur (1795m). We managed to snap a few pictures despite the low cloud cover, heavy fog and occasional rain showers. Regardless of our relaxed pace, Curniss’s ankle developed tendonitis over the course of the week and Chris ended up carrying both packs down to the car on our last day in the mountains which in turn gave him a bruised heel.
We limped onwards towards the West Coast, stopping in Murchinson for a fine evening (no rain!) and in Westport to confirm the diagnosis of tendonitis. From here, we began our drive down the West Coast which was also plagued by rain. We stopped on Cape Foulwind to see a seal colony and at the famous Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. As we continued our journey southwards, the sun made an appearance in Hokitika where we couldn’t resist spending the night at a beautiful four star beach front holiday park with sauna and spa. We were very happy to thoroughly dry out our gear and took a stroll into town to check out various jade art galleries and go for a swim at the local pool. Well rested and dry with sunny weather forecast, we are looking forward to continuing south along the coast.