Coaltown to Punakaiki Pancake Rocks – Day 107

A road trip on the Wild West Coast

Today we are road tripping from Karamea to Punakaiki on the West Coast, stopping by the Coaltown Museum, Constant & Joyce Bays and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks!

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Video Transcript:

Today we are doing a massive road trip of the West Coast. We are doing the Coaltown museum, we are doing Constant Bay, Joyce Bay and the Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki.

This morning it is with heavy hear that we’re leaving the little town of Karamea and the weather is trying to keep us in. It is actually snowing the mountain between Karamea and Westport. We’ve never seen such a change in weather before. It was snowing and within about 30 minutes it’s bright blue sky and we are back in the little town of Westport in the Coaltown Museum.

We are only stopping for a short time right here in Westport and decided to visit the Coaltown Museum just because the drive between Karamea and Punakaiki, our destination tonight, is a little bit too long for us to do it in one go.

The whole West Coast used to have this huge coal mining industry and this is what this whole museum is about. It’s only a few dollars to get in for the fee and there is an extensive collection of of everything to do with Coal mining and I’ve never seen so many artifacts all dedicated to one subject.

We learn absolutely everything to do with coal starting with how it is formed and how it is extracted and the lives of the coal miners back in the day when they used to go into the coal pits and do an extremely dangerous job.

Although this is not the most excited subject for backpackers, it is core part of the history of the West Coast. This is literally the one reason why the West Coast was populated and why we get to visit it today.

So it’s amazing to take the time to visit that.

Then we hit back the road and we have quite a lot of pit stops along the way. We don’t want to make it a very long drive.

The receptionists at the Coaltown Museum suggested we visit a place called Constant and Joyce Bay because there’s a walk here that we simply cannot miss. But to be honest we find it a little bit hard to find the walk to start with but eventually after checking out a couple of bays we find the sign to the track.

This is a very short walk, about 15 minutes loop track around the wild coastal cliffs which are iconic of the West coast.

the closer we are getting to the coast the more raging we can hear the sea being. We can start seeing the waves crashing on the very rocky shores and we can hear the noise that they are making. And the track is getting us really up-close and intimate with the waves. We are literally hanging on the cliffs or maybe we were not supposed to get there but really wanted to get up close. the spectacle of nature just right before our eyes and the sheer force of the ocean is not to be missed. We are so stoked that this lady told us to get here even if admittedly we got an unexpected we got unexpected showers.

Although this is meant to be a very quick pit stop we just can’t pull ourselves away from this place. Robin is just hanging out on the edge of cliffs getting battered by the waves himself and I’m taking photos of all of this happening. It is really awesome.

I could literally spend an entire day right here just looking at the waves destroying the cliffs the amount of foam on the water should show you how raging the waves are. It’s absolutely amazing. I had a blast.

But waves are still on the agenda today we are now hitting the Punakaiki town and it’s famous Pancake Rocks.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of these famous Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. They are famous for looking like stacked yummy treats formed by millions of years of compression on the seabed and these rock have rose out of the sea and been bashed the waves to erode into these amazing shapes so we take lots of pictures while we are here and this is the reason why this is one of the most popular walks on the West Coast.

Another reason why this walk is so popular it’s because it is literally one of the easiest walk in New Zealand. It is only about 10 minutes and it’s entirely sealed with bridges, platforms, handrails, it’s just accessible to anybody and yet the sights are amazing. We see those pancakes rocks, we see underwater caves, blowholes, we see waves, We see native bush we see everything and we arrived right when the sun was going down giving us this golden glow over the whole spectacle. it is an absolute treat and Laura and I are so stoked to be treated to that when arrive in Punakaiki. We thought we would not make it early enough to see it in that light and oh man, what an amazing sight.

There’s all these information boards as well to sell us more about the wildlife and the geology of the area. You can really learn lots here. And tonight we are lucky enough to be staying in the area as we’re going to be heading back to the Punakaiki Beach Camp for a night along this beautiful West Coast of the South island.

We’re going to be carving some cool bone souvenirs and also we’re going to be exploring the Punakaiki Cavern so we might just be going back to the stone ages tomorrow, so see you then.

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