New Zealand 2015

Punakaiki, 9 April


  We had plenty of time, so we detoured to Blackball. This little hotel had been called the Blackball Hilton for the best part of 100 years when the well-known chain of hotels raised legal complaints. It is now "Formerly The Blackball Hilton". †
  Driving down the Grey River valley, we found Brunner Historic Reserve. In the early 20th century, Brunner was New Zealand's largest coal mine. *
  It was also the site of New Zealand's worst mining disaster. On 26 March 1896, the mine exploded and killed 65 men. †
  The present devastated look of the area is caused by neglect since the mine closed in the 1930s. *
  The bridge linked the mine with the railway on the other side of the river. *
  A seam of good brick-making clay was found beneath the coal, so the mining company branched out into brickmaking. This is the remains of one of the brick kilns. *
  The foundations of one of the steam engines that powered the above-ground works. *
  After an uninspiring lunch in Greymouth, we continued up the west coast in nasty weather. †
  Our hotel in Punakaiki was right at the beach. †
  The next morning, the weather was much better. †
  Punakaiki is renowned for the Pancake Rocks, consisting of alternating layers of hard and soft stone. *
  The cliffs are being eroded by the sea. †
  In places, the sea has eroded a cave that has then collapsed. *
  Some shags on a rock. *
  By the time we left Punakaiki, the weather was turning nasty again. *

From Punakaiki, it was a scenic drive up the Buller Gorge to get to Nelson.


Copyright © 2015 by *Lynn Booth or †Nick Booth. Please contact us if you wish to use a photo.