img_1714Breaking with tradition we had breakfast (toast and marmalade) in the motel to allow for an earlyish start and to avoid a fourth meal in the “Dog”.

The road is fabulous (again) quite a bit more traffic than we are used to but we are in no great hurry as the views need to be savored. There's a very large contingent of motorcycles coming the opposite way for most of the day and some wave and some do not. Churlish we thought.

Punakaiki rocks (pancake rocks) are just as spectacular as always and amply reward the short walk around them. Unfortunately it's not high tide so the blow holes are not really working but none the less you can clearly get the picture. Fortunately it's another really nice day.

img_1710Greymouth is quiet, we think at first that it's as a result of the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy but it turns out to be Westland anniversary day so most shops are closed. Our lunch spot is a slow choice and deeply unmemorable except for meeting the local MP and his wife.

We were pleased to see that the one lane bridge that the cars share with the railway is still in use and they have even extended the concept to have the railway go straight across a roundabout a little further south. I can see limitations to this system but it certainly adds to the driving interest.

On this occasion we decided to pass though Hokitika and make for Franz Josef with only a short stop in Ross for very expensive fuel ($0.30 more than in Pukekohe). Another short break is required to put on thermals and the jacket linings as it is just so cold when we get inland.

img_1726Arriving in Franz Joseph we are again we are welcomed at a Bella Vista Motel and it fills up pretty quickly once we are installed. The message is to make sure you get a be in good time. Mine host is most helpful with arrangements for laundry and such like and with luck we will be in for a ski plane trip tomorrow.

Dinner next door to the hotel at the Alice May restaurant & bar is not bad at all although the service could be improved. We spent a pleasant time chatting to two British ladies about their (and our) trips. On balance I'd rather do ours, theirs sounds far too frenetic.

I forgot to include the following verse from Dennison which I suspect sums up how many of the miners felt about the place.

“Damn Dennison
Damn the track
Damn the way both there and back
Damn the wind and damn the weather
God damn Dennison altogether.”