Monday, May 12, 2008

Pancake Rocks, Porarari - Punakaiki River, Fox River

This morning we made breakfast (more of those amazing eggs on toast with onions, sauteed tomahhhtoes and a side of kiwi fruit and bananas) and then set out for a full day of tramping in Paparoa National Park. First we visited the DOC office, had a chat with the ranger inside, and bought a map of all the area tramps. We also walked the 20 minute loop trail to see the Pancake Rocks - some interesting limestone formations that jut out of the sea and resemble stacks of pancakes. There were also some neat blowholes, where the wild waves would crash in and get forced up a narrow rock formation and then shoot into the air. Pretty fun!

We decided for the first tramp to do the Porarari/Punakaiki River Loop Track - a 3.5 hour (11km) loop, that combines the southern section of the Inland Pack Track with the Porarari River Track. It includes a crossing of the Punakaiki River, during which we got wet up to our knees in cold water. It took a while for the shoes to dry out, but was exciting at least!

After the first tramp, we bought a phone card so we could call our moms for Mother's Day. Then we had a nice lunch at one of the only restaurants in town - a place with a nice atmosphere and good food. After lunch and an ice cream cone (have I mentioned that the ice cream here is out of this world good?) we were fueled up for the second tramp of the day - the Fox River Cave Walk, a 2.5 hour (8km) hike to a limestone cave. This walk involved two river crossings, the first of which, I found a way to scamper over some big slippery rocks to avoid getting my feet wet again. The second crossing wasn't deep enough to get us wet. This track was the more challenging of the two, with some decent climbing, rock scrambling and slippery conditions. It was a fun one, though we didn't go too far into the caves. We had our torch, but neither of us is too into cool, damp, dark, tight spaces:

Tonight we're cooking dinner and home and enjoying our last night under this blanket of stars before heading north to the artist's town of Nelson tomorrow.

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