We were wrong thinking the route from Cooper’s Beach to Rotorua would be our longest day trip. Today it even takes longer to reach our next destination. Yes, mountains are quite high here and you cannot really drive fast on the passes. All in all we are on the road for ten hours. Although Gernot had warned me there is always rain on the west coast today all along the way the sun shines.
We discover some beautiful spots which we have to explore on our next journey to New Zealand. For example we would like to see more of the Buller River canyon. It is hard to just go on without lingering around a bit but if you are already on the road for hours and still have to go so far! Today we repeatedly have to change places in the car so each of us gets the chance to enjoy the views. We take a break at Pancake Rocks, that’s what I asked Gernot for to do. The sea has formed fantastic sculptures out of the cliffs; since Gernots last visit to this place they reconstructed the area so now a 20 minutes loop road leads all around, offering beautiful views from different angles.
We finally reach Okarito at eight p.m., a small village about 13 km off the highways next to a large lagoon. As we knew before that there is not much infrastructure along this route we fill up our provisions in Greymouth and refuel in Hokitika for sure. Our “Kiwi Cottage” is simple but conveniently equipped. What we miss again is paper towels. From the first day on we carry some toilet paper with us not having to, we should have invested in paper towels. This wipe-away-culture does not seem to have reached New Zealand yet.
We had expected sandflies and midges, in Takaka I bought a New Zealand insect repellent for that reason. But these masses of midges! Though doors and windows are thouroughly closed more and more mosquitos come inside. We try to fight them with the vacuum cleaner. At last I sleep fully dressed, any tiny bit of skin that might still show covered with insect repellent.
The next day we are told that the midges eclosed just these very days and get inside the cottage through the chimney. Our landlord promises to cover the flue so this won’t happen again. Well, hopefully this is going to help!