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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Highway to the Danger Zone


4/21/11     Westport -> Lake Mahinapua
There was plenty of driving today, but I feel like there was even more stopping.  We began the trip with an hour and a half hike down the coastline.  We began near a lighthouse and ended just past a seal colony (yay seals!).  Everything in between was beautiful.
Our next stop was a little scenic overlook with a huge view.  From there we drove about another 10 minutes to a small track down to the ocean.  On the walk down we encountered two huge trees, literally in the middle of the path.  It was pretty cool.  Down by the water was awesome as well.  The waves were coming in really hard and it was nice to just sit and watch.
 About 15 minutes down the road from that stop we stopped again, this time at the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.  This place is amazing.  It’s about a 20 minute trek, but the scenery and the ocean make it a 30 minute trip, minimum.  There is no way anyone can just walk straight through without pausing to check out this force of nature.
Already the day was turning out to be awesome.  So much ocean!  Our next stop was in the small town of Greymouth, the last decent sized settlement before our escape from civilization.  After getting the necessities, the bus rumbled on, this time to our destination, the Mahinapua Hotel.
Upon our arrival we were greeted by Les, the 86 yr old pub owner.  After his brief welcome speech and area rundown we were on our own until dinner at 7pm.  And so we once again walked down to the ocean, this time getting to play in the waves.
After our inner kids were sufficiently worn out (about two hours or so) we returned to our room to clean up.  We then headed over to the bar to use the internet and partake in happy hour.
Seven o’clock rolled around and it was time for dinner.  Steak and potatoes prepared by Les, with pasta, salad, peas and beans, venison stew, and corn on the cob prepared by Bods, our driver.  It was a feast, a tasty, tasty feast.  Sadly I did not take any pictures of the scrumptiousness that occupied our plates.
With no time to digest, we headed back to the bar for all of 10 minutes before dispersing to change into our party wear.  It was a themed party with prizes going to the best outfit.  The theme?  Bad taste.  People wore everything from jean tops and skirts to a pink sweatsuit to men in skirts.  It was hilarious.  I pulled off a pretty classic 80s workout girl.

The party raged on for quite some time.  As soon as the group pics were taken, however, six of us headed across the street and down a dark gravel road to Lake Mahinapua to see glowworms.  Which we did, and it totally made my night.  I mean really, glowworms!  If you don’t like glowworms there is something seriously wrong, that is all.