Friday, May 15, 2015

To The Wild NZ West Coast

Thursday dawned, our route set to Westport, where the river meets the seriously untamed NZ West Coast. Of course travel doesn't always (ever) go so smoothly. There were the seven days since we'd hitched up the caravan and prepared to leave, brain synapses rusty with rum and sand. By the time we ate, the rains swept through again, soaking snarky travelers ready to hit the road.

Here's the route, which took about 4 hours on a two-lane of varying width, caravan following along nicely.

We stopped for a toilet break at Hope Saddle Lookout, Art pulling onto the shoulder so we wouldn't get trapped up the entry road.

The view alone was worth it. Looking out across the Clark Valley, a snipped ribbon of road yet to be taken.

The drive was varied in its surface and geography, farms giving way to vast swaths of forest, mountains beckoning.

Who has the right-of-way on a one-lane bridge or road?

The answer lies in this ingenious road sign.

The mighty Buller River churns as a road theoretically wide enough for two vehicles looms.

Westport, our destination, was first a gold town and then a coal town, NZ's only bituminous coal mine still operating here. A blessedly rain-free drive to within a mile of Westport gave us hopes of finding a caravan park, but with this view through our windshield nobody was up for a second rain-drenched effort. You might think stopping at a motel would be a luxury, but when your caravan is the place that's prepped for living it's tiresome to move, plucking toothbrush, jammies, computer, food from their appointed places and transporting it all inside. We did, though.

The motel hob might have been a bit hot on those sweet potatoes, eh? But they hit the spot, along with chard, mushrooms, tomato, avocado, and carrots. We slept hard, rain and wind battering the motel roof, dreaming of our Friday journey north to Karamea.

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