Heading south on the western ‘wild’ coast of the south island in New Zealand was a spectacular drive. According to Lonely Planet, the drive from Marahau (Abel Tasman National Park) to Punakaiki is one of the top ten drives in the world. I can now see why. The rugged coast overlooks the dramatic beaches along the way.
We stopped at Cape Foulwind Walkway to see the surfers on the beach and after a short walk, we observed a nearby seal colony resting on the black rocks. The jagged giant rocks were jetting out of the sea as if they were reaching toward heaven. I wondered to myself if the views could continue to get better and better the further south I went.
In the Paparoa National Park, I saw the famous pancake rocks and blowholes. The rocks which have been eroded by the ocean leave formations that appear to be stacked pancakes. In some places the roaring sea cuts through the formations creating blowholes. The view of the rocks above the deep blue ocean with the mountainous mainland in the background was awe striking. The sound of waves pounding against the rocks and water being forced up the blow holes was incredible. With the mist in the air hovering over the green tropical palm-like plants and trees was almost eerie and calming at the same time. The stunning native rainforest region has untouched beaches and coastline for miles.
My drive along this expansive coast ended by watching the sun set on the sea. The west coast is known for amazing sunsets. This is one of the most spectacular coastal highways in New Zealand. I am thankful to have had an opportunity to see it in my lifetime.