09 Mar 2016

Over The Mtn's & Thru The Woods - NZL by valeriepeltier

24/34

Star 1

Comment0

Finally a morning where there were not a million alarms going off for hours, I was able to sleep in past 7am, and instead didn't get out of bed until 8:30. After breakfast, Lauren and I grabbed our things ready for the day and walked over to wake up Ollie. The night before he was unsure as to whether he wanted to join us for our morning hike, and after asking him again in the morning he had made his decision to stay behind and join us in the afternoon instead.
The trail head was only minutes away so we got a nice and early start allowing us to have the trail basically to ourselves, aside from our little winged friends.
As the trail curved though the valley, the landscape continually changed from open grassland, to dense rainforest, finally to a mixed forest, while all along following the river. The entire time we were walking along the trail the surrounding forest kept reminding me of jarrasic park, and around each corner we would find a new spot where we could imagine a dinosaur would hide. We only walked as far as the swing bridge and turned around, which in the end took us nearly 2 hours, which got us back in perfect time to get to pancake rocks for high tide.

Star 0

Comment0

Back from our morning hike, we swing through the campsite to get Ollie in order to see what the blowhole activity was like at high tide. Walking up the hill, the waves were smashing against the rocks and splashing as far as some sections of the sidewalk.
The looped track for pancake rocks entered across from the cafe where we were dropped off the day before, with a rough time of 20 minutes for the full route.
The first loop took you around to the smaller lookout points to where the sea had carved its way through the rocks leaving behind sculpted outcrops.
When we turned along the second loop the first lookout area opened up to a surge, where the water had carved through the rock in multiple places and rushed into a larger opening where the waves smashed there way in and up the side of the rock walls. The loud smack of the waves against the rock paired with the vibration of the rock platform running through your body, describes the true power the sea holds.
The next lookout reached over the blowhole where the rocks were coloured from the constant spray of sea water during storms and high tide. By the time we got there the blowhole was still quite active although it was not as high as I was imagining.
Following along the limestone path ways, it lead us around the surge, past the blowholes and along the edge of the sea returning us back to the inland loop.
In the end it did actually only take us 20 minutes although in more active weather I'm sure io could of easily spent a little more time at the blowhole and the surge just watching the waves continuously work on altering the shape of the cliff side.

Star 0

Comment0

Along the walk back, Lauren and Ollie were busy in mid conversation behind me as I let my eyes wander from the cliff side to the sea side. About half way down the hill I glanced to my right over towards the cliff side, just in time to spot a small trail leading off into the side of the cliff. There was also a small sign that delineated the location of a self guided cave walk. Intrigued I paused, therefore causing both Ollie and Lauren to stop as well and continued to cross over towards the cave.
The path led down a slope through a few trees and opened up where a set of stairs climbed into the mouth of the cave. Surprised at the depth of the cave, we slowly made our way further in encroaching in on the darkness. I stopped to pull out my torch (headlamp) as Ollie commented that i looked like a proper cave explorer.
Moving further in our pace slowed as our visibility diminished and we became reliant only on our torch and no longer on the daylight reaching inside. Following the marked path, the walls of the cave turned from a large cathedral type opening to a narrow passage directing you further inside. We continued to follow the path reached the point where you could no longer stand up properly. If I would of been wearing proper footwear and brought along special gear then I would of continued, but for today this was the point where we decided to turn and head back.
On the way out I paused a few times in order to attempt taking a few photos in the darkness, utilizing my torch as a light source to observe the stalactites growing on the ceilings and the formations of the rock floor.