Wow, what a day! What an amazing world we live in. So much I have not yet dreamed!
I had heard of the pancake rocks at Punakaiki, but I had not imagined what I saw today. Pillars, columns, massive rock formations, layered like stacks of a hundred or more pancakes, but not just a few, but rather an undulating coastline of towering rock formations with a pathway which led grinning tourists with cameras clicking from one awe-inspiring scene to the next. People could not help but smile, it was so beautiful.
And there in the parking lot, across from the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, were five Bugattis (1924, 1926 vintage). The International Bugatti Rally is happening in New Zealand.
We walked the Truman Track along the shore and felt the edge of the powerful surf rolling in to the finely pebbled shore, marvelled at the changing blue-green of the Tasman Sea as it crashed against huge limestone formations.
This afternoon we took on the five hour Underworld Adventure excursion, billed as four hours. We passed the endurance test, the spelunking test and the rafting test and more than earned the whitebait dinner that our host prepared. By 8 PM we were definitely ready for it.
Wearing a two piece “designer” wetsuit, complete with socks, boots, overalls, jackets, gloves and life jacket, we travelled through the river valley by bus then train on a narrow gauge track. Then we walked a path, collected an inner tube, climbed 150 steps, walked and crouched through a cave system admiring stalactites, stalagmites and columns, were introduced to glow-worms, dropped onto our inner tube in an underground river and flowed under a constellation-like ceiling of a million glow-worms. Mesmerizing! Stunning! Unforgettable! After climbing over more rocks, we exited the cave, still carrying an inner tube and plopped down again now in sunshine where we paddled with our hands then rushed over rapids down river until it was time to stagger out, walk, take the train then the bus back to the beginning. Although we were dripping with sweat for much of our tube carrying exercise, by the time we were back on the train and the sun was gone, we were freezing. when we peeled off our suits we could not get into the hot shower fast enough.
If you want to see photos of our rafting experience, go to http://www.caverafting.com….Download your photos…choose February 25 …the 2 PM adventure.