. It’s a toughy. We had our lunch just in time as a coach load or American teenagers turned up and clogged up the café. The nice man in the I-site had recommended that we stay at Jacksons retreat campsite. The range of mountains that we drove through to get to the site was, annoyingly, unnamed on the map. But wow. You felt as though you were walking through a cathedral, some sort of hushed respect came across all of us. The South islands is so beautiful. Different to the North, not better, just different! We found our campsite at 3 p.m. and drove through an eerily empty site. Helen said she didn’t like it until I told her how incredible the bathrooms were, and that there were no draughts in there. It’s surprising how much you miss bathrooms sometimes! The site is just unbelievable. Surrounded by tall, deep green bushy hills, some snow capped, and opening out to the Taramakau river. The site owner told us of a small trail through the woods behind the site to a waterfall and, at night, gloworm’s! We had a cup of tea and set off through the woods to the waterfall. After about 30minutes of taking the wrong direction along the barely visible track, losing mum and avoiding cow pats (in the forest?!) we arrived at a 40m high waterfall. It’s quite slight, and the plunge pool isn’t that great, but it’s lovely to see a naturally formed waterfall. On the way back, Helen and I went on a treasure hunt. We found skeletal leaves, striped feathers of unknown birds and a glittery rock (my favourite). The sun is setting behind the tallest mountain now, an incredible array of pastel pinks and blues are shooting through the clouds that cling around the tip, but it’s impossible to photograph! All of these places really need to be seen to be truly appreciated. I’m quite anxious to get some ’select’ photographs framed after this trip. I think they’ll make some beautiful wall-art. Tonight we are having dinner inside the lounge of the site, with a lovely big fire and a dvd. Once the light has completely disappeared from the sky, we’re going hunting for Gloworms! A long-awaited reunion with Dewi, Jenny, Rhys and Ioan tomorrow. I’m really excited!
We arrived at Pancake Rocks at 10:30 and walked through the Flax tunnels to the coastline. The formation of the Stacks of pancakes are a ‘mystery’ to geologists. Very amazing. Some sitting away from their more sturdy brothers out in the ocean a sign tells me will not be around for much longer. I am not surprised, the ocean is incredibly strong here. Naturally formed blow holes and surge pools surround the rocks, showing the ferocity of the Tasman waves. I’m spoilt for choice over photos to include with this blog. Everything is beautiful! I could stay here. I had a business idea last night of opening a pancake shop at Pancake rocks called ‘Pancakes rocks!’… genius I thought. As we left the Flax maze, I noticed a pancake café, selling only Cherry (preserved and not very nice) pancakes for $13! Rip off! Mum and Helen said they weren’t very pleasant either… I think I have found the market gap. So I’ll either be selling shell bracelets at Tapotupotu bay, or selling pancakes here