We started the day with another bus transfer to do some sightseeing prior to our bike rides. First we went to Cape Foulwind, which has two nice walking paths, one leading to a Lighthouse and the other one — which we took — leading to a view point from which one can watch a fur seal — or kekeno as they are called in New Zealand — colony some twelve meters below.
Cape Foulwind’s first European “visitor” was, in 1642, Abel Tasman. He named it Rocky Cape. But when in 1770 Captain Cook arrived here on his ship, the Endeavour, he renamed it to Cape Foulwind, as he was especially unlucky with the weather on the day he arrived and his ship was actually blown out to sea.
After this brief visit we went on in the bus. Again we were offered the chance of starting our bike ride earlier. This time I had decided to start off at the earlier point too, as I knew from the day before that it would be possible for me to accomplish. Unfortunately, when making that decision public our guide told me that I would not be allowed to take the tour around Pancake Rocks to take photos if I decided to start my bike ride early. So now I was in a real dilemma.
Which one to prefer above the other? But then could I really miss out on seeing Pancake Rocks?
Solo told me that I had no other choice but to rather take the photos and skip the extra kilometers because I was the photographer.
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
Arriving at Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, it started drizzling but not bad enough to not take any photos.
The rocks are made out of limestone and are formed by wind and water into this particular shape, which reminds of a stack of pancakes.
Pancake Rocks has a walkway around, as it is one of the main tourist attractions of the West Coast. I was already wearing my bike clothes, including the click-shoes, which made the walkway a not very easy one at times, especially when the rain got a little heavier making the limestone slippery and wet.
Riding in drizzling rain toward Greymouth
Soon after the visit of this spot we started our bike ride, following Highway 6 south toward Greymouth.
I learned later, at lunch break, that about half of our group had refused to ride their bikes this day because they did not want to get wet again. I wanted to go though. And the drizzle did not really stop me from riding my bike. Actually this was the first day where the average temperature was around “only” 20.9˚C, and with that a rather perfect day for a ride. Due to the drizzle not so perfect for taking photos though.
During my ride I had been stopped by our guide to wait for those behind me — or at least to let them come in sight — while Solo had been riding ahead of all of us. This was the first day for me that I had been up front all the time, which was somewhat weird as I hadn’t been up front on any of the other days. About 7 kilometers before the target I was once more stopped by the guide to wait for the bike-riding German participants, but I continued as soon as the first one, Alfred, came in sight. I just needed to continue my bike ride, but Alfred glued himself to my back wheel. So we would continue the last kilometers together. Finding the parking lot, where we should wait for the guide to pick us up, was not easy as it was not really specified which one to choose. We passed the first one, and when I wanted to pass on the second one Alfred told me that this should be the one. Yet Solo was not there, even though he was supposed to be waiting for us at the same parking lot.
After everybody else had arrived and we had packed the bikes onto the trailer, we continued in the bus toward Greymouth. It turned out that Solo must have had the same difficulties in deciding which of the parking lots to take as I had, as he was waiting for us just one closer to Greymouth. When we stopped to pick him up his first question was who had arrived first at the meeting point, Rainer — another one of the German participants — or Alfred. Apparently there had been some kind of race going on between the two for the past couple of days, which I didn’t know about… Sorry guys but this was my turn to come in first! 😀
We did not stay overnight in Greymouth, but drove further to Hokitika. As opposed to other group-days we did not have a pre-booked group dinner in Hokitika, but had to find out for ourselves where and with whom we wanted to have dinner.
So Solo and I decided to meet up a little later and then go to find a restaurant. Somehow I must have left some sort of impression with him of being a complete carnivore, as the first restaurant that we found looked like a pasta-place so he ran inside to find out if they would serve me any meat as well. Yea… proteins are good…
After dinner we decided to do some sightseeing and went to a point marked on the map as “Sunset Point,” which seemed to offer a chance for some nice photos if the now-clearing weather would not take a turn for the bad.