Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Punakaiki, West Coast, South Island

Our next stop was in the West Coast of New Zealand, took us almost 8 hours to get to, from Picton, as we were originally intending to stop at Hokitika. The drive took us past the Buller Gorge.

"New Zealand's Longest Swingbridge", Murchison, South Island, New Zealand.
Photo Image © Thaddeus Roan
From its source at Lake Rotoiti, the Buller River cuts a westward course to reach the Tasman Sea at Westport.  The river was named after Charles Buller, a Member of Parliament and director of the New Zealand Company.

One of the activities one could do in the area, is to explore the Buller Gorge Swingbridge Adventure and Heritage Park. It has a 110 metres in length bridge, New Zealand's longest swingbridge.

Tidal Force @ Punakaiki, South Island, New Zealand.
Photo Image © 
Punakaiki is known for it’s Paparoa National Park.and it’s Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.

The Pancake Rocks at Dolomite Point can be found across from the visitor center, on a track that leads through native ferns, pongas, and nikau palms to the coast, where rain and sea water have widened the joints in a well-bedded limestone that dips gently seaward into many deep narrow channels.
Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki, South Island, New Zealand.
Photo Image © Shay Yacobinski
The remnants survive as narrow ridges and pillars in which the softer layers have been eroded out, leaving the harder layers projecting to give the layered effect from which the rocks take their name. Caves and large open chambers, the largest with a natural bridge, have been carved in the rock by the Tasman Sea, assisted by the explosive effects of air compressed in the joints by the waves.
"Million Years BC", Paparoa National Park, Punakaiki, South Island, New Zealand.
Photo Image © Sergey Zalivin
On calm days the running of the sea in the caves and chambers, and the gentle hiss of escaping air are heard, but when it is rough, thunderous booming and rumbling noises accompany geyser-like jets of water and compressed air from the blowholes as the sea rushes in and out of the caves and chambers in its relentless attack on the headland.

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