I didn't want to leave Marahau. I sat in glorious sunshine waiting for the washing to finish and a lady from the camp staff told me we were due for 'some wet' as the weather had been good for six and a half weeks since the cyclone went through. Well, we have had five days of warm sunshine so far and this is a sunny, wine-growing region, further south will be cooler.
The roads were straight to start with but then we reached Hope Saddle and had hairpin bends to cope with. Hope Saddle Lookout gave panoramic views but the car parking was tight. At Murchison we stopped for diesel and Henry spotted an antique shop with vintage cars and trucks outside called 'Dust and Rust'.
The temptation was too much. Inside was a Datsun pick-up truck with an animal skin over it's bonnet. At the other end of the shop was a cart with red wheels and a red seat, on sale for $4,000. An array of antique objects filled the display area, such as a postage meter machine from 1932, an apple coring machine, a bean slicer, a till, clothing and pots and pans. Apparently, vintage car clubs gather here. The West Coast is reminiscent of America: shops with awnings and wide streets. Westport fitted this description. We shopped at New World supermarket again and were offered a visitor loyalty card. Yay! How generous of them. They got it working straight away and we saved $12. Worth knowing. All this was took time. The itinerary was knocked sideways. Signs for 'Queenstown 232km' were not encouraging.
The winding coastal road took us through a tunnel of green that is the West Coast: temperate rainforest, grass such a vivid green it looked unreal, nikau palms and silver fern trees, slopes of bush or walls of ferns on one side of us; on the other a wild white sea foaming in, jagged outcrops of rock standing alone against the spray. Waterfalls are viewed easily from the road, one we stopped at - impressive.
It was getting late as we reached the Pancake Rocks area, stopping at the car park that allowed overnight parking if your vehicle was self-contained. Then we had the cheek to subject our poor bodies to a 20-minute walk up a steep road to view the Pancake Rocks, barely visible due to the failing light. There was a blob of yellowy light on the horizon that called itself a sunset.