Hydrangea Cottages (www.pancake-rocks.co.nz)
is situated just 500 m past the Punakaiki Pancake
Rocks. Two of the cottages have awesome seaviews, each has a deck
or balcony to soak up the sun on and the sounds of the sea worked
wonders soothing away those work stresses. Hydrangea also runs horse
treks which takes riders into the Punakaiki Valley and along the
beach to the Pancake Rocks. All in all it was beautifully restful
and I only wished we could have stayed longer than two nights.
We stayed in and cooked a roast chook that night,
enjoying the privacy and relaxed feel of our delightful cottage.
The next morning, after a wonderfully peaceful night’s sleep, I
took a trip across to the famous Pancake Rocks (thus called because
they look like a stack of pancakes!) with my trusty camera. It was
a gorgeous, sunny dayand what a beautiful spot to stroll around.
The Blowhole is a really stunning and popular attraction: at high
tide the water is sucked in and blown out of a hole in the rocks,
creating a geyser effect!
After a leisurely hot chocolate and a look around
the arty galleries situated at the Rocks, I drove the half hour
or so down to Greymouth to check out the Jade Boulder Gallery (the
west coast is renowned for its greenstone or jade carvings and jewellery).
I enjoyed a latte, a yummy smoked salmon and an avocado bagel for
lunch; afterwards, I popped into the gallery of local photographer,
Stewart Nimmo, whose stunning framed photographs of the land and
seascapes around the coast make great souvenirs to take back home.
We had hoped to visit the award-winning Bay House
at nearby Cape Foulwind, for dinner that night, but it had recently
changed ownership and was closed for renovations. I was disappointed
as I had heard such great things about this place, but it goes on
the list of must-dos next time round.
Sadly, it was back home the next day. Knowing
I probably wouldn’t be back for a while, I meditated on the stunning
coastal scenery on the drive back up to Westport. With some convincing
(of my shopping-phobic travelling partner) I managed to have one
final stop off at a quaint wee cottage on the coastal road out of
town where some local artists had a sea-view gallery of gorgeous
glassware and other beautiful items for sale. The west coast is
becoming more renowned for its local arts and crafts and I found
many unusual pieces which would have made great gifts or keepsakes.
With its gorgeous scenery, developing accommodation
and arts and café scene, the wild west coast is a splendid
place to rest awhile. Perhaps the best thing is that it hasn’t yet
turned into a really commercial touristy area, so you can still enjoy
yourself without too many madding crowds. But be quick, as this piece
of paradise may not stay this way for long!
Donnelly is director of PlanitNZ, www.planitnz.com.
It hasn’t yet turned into
a really commercial touristy area, so you can still enjoy yourself
without too many madding crowds
The Pancake Rocks, formed of limestone shaped through natural erosion.
ABOVE: The Blowhole at the Pancake
Rocks. BELOW LEFT: More of the Pancake