New Zealand Adventure Part Two – From Nelson to Lake Mahinapua

After breakfast in Nelson the following morning, it was all about dashing to get onto the bus as a group driven by a guy called Poncey. After a tip off from a girl at Kaikoura, she told us that out of the two coaches available, his was by the far the most fun and active. And she wasn’t wrong. From the off he was jeering us all on and making sure we kept our energy levels up whilst telling stories and jokes to keep us from passing out whilst on the road. He was also a strange mix between Harry and Hill and Freddy Kruegar which made his personality ever more intriguing…

From Nelson, we headed off towards Westport, aptly on the west coast. The weather was impeccable for our first stop off which was a nice relaxing visit to Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National park – one of the most beautiful and peaceful lakes in the world.

Lake-Rotoiti, Nelson-Lakes-National-Park, New-Zealand

Lake Rotoiti – Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand

Calm-Lake-Rotoiti, Nelson-Lakes-National-Park, New-Zealand

Calm Lake Rotoiti – Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand

Mountains-of-Lake-Rotoiti, Nelson-Lakes-National-Park, New-Zealand

Mountains of Lake Rotoiti – Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand

Pauric-Flight, Lake-Rotoiti, Nelson-Lakes-National-Park, New-Zealand

Pauric in Flight – Lake Rotoiti – Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand

Following a daring swim, we then headed over to Murchison to tuck into some of its famous delicious ice cream before winding through the lush green landscapes of the Buller Gorge for our next activity – the Buller Jetboating!

Buller-Gorge, New-Zealand

Buller Gorge – New Zealand

Kilkenny-Lookout-Point, New-Zealand

Kilkenny Lookout Point – New Zealand

On the bus, we then recruited another member to our gang – Quay – a british Chinese guy from Essex. He is one of the guys I still keep in contact with today and he became my photography buddy, so much so, we were unsurprisingly known as Team Photo after we continuously slowed down the group from moving on by taking shots!

The Buller Jetboating was an adrenaline filled ride through the jaggy cliffs of the gorge. Packed onto the boat with our goggles and safety gear, the driver sped through the gorge whilst continuously performing donuts and 180 degree turns, sliding round dangerous bends and generally ensuring we didn’t leave the boat dry. The gorge was only around 1-2 metres deep, so he had to be pretty accurate with where he was steering the boat. It was dry season and we were told that in the wet season the gorge can rise up to 8 metres and beyond, the dry marks clear to see on the cliff faces. The danger that lurked high above on the winding roads was evidently clear when we also sped past a car that had plummeted 10 metres from the road above. The driver had lost control a couple of weeks ago and fractured his spine as a result.

Buller-Adventure-Tours, Buller-Gorge, New-Zealand

Buller Adventure Tours – Buller Gorge, New Zealand

Team-Photo, Buller-Gorge, New-Zealand

Team Photo – Buller Gorge, New Zealand

Kitted-Out, Buller-Gorge Jet-Boating, New-Zealand

Kitted Out – Buller Gorge Jet Boating, New Zealand

Behind-the-Driver, Jet-Boating, New-Zealand

Behind the Driver – Jet Boating, New Zealand

Flying-Past-the-Rock-Face, Buller-Gorge-Jet-Boating, New-Zealand

Flying Past the Rock Face – Buller Gorge Jet Boating, New Zealand

Car-Submerged, Buller-Gorge, New-Zealand

Car Submerged – Buller Gorge, New Zealand

Cliff-Roadside, Buller-Gorge, New-Zealand

Cliff Roadside – Buller Gorge, New Zealand

Back at Westport, Quay and I then headed off to check out the town and get snapping. It was a dead town really, with very little to do. Again, similar to Christchurch, it had an abandoned feeling, almost like walking into a Midwestern town in the USA, with nothing but tumbleweed and some doors of a local bar slamming in the wind.

Westport-Streets-at-Sunset, New-Zealand

Westport Streets at Sunset – New Zealand

Local-Services, Westport, New-Zealand

Local Services – Westport, New Zealand

Westport-Residency, New-Zealand

Westport Residency – New Zealand

Westport-Church, New-Zealand

Westport Church – New Zealand

Westport-Youth-Base, New-Zealand

Westport Youth Base – New Zealand

Street-Signs-of-Westport, New-Zealand

Street Signs of Westport – New Zealand

Red-Sky-Over-Westport, New-Zealand

Red Sky Over Westport – New Zealand

Sunset-Silhouette, Westport, New-Zealand

Sunset Silhouette – Westport, New Zealand

West-Coast-Bar, Westport, New-Zealand

West Coast Bar – Westport, New Zealand

Westport-Industry, New-Zealand

Westport Industry – New Zealand

Later that evening, we then headed to one of the local bars with the rest of the troops and Poncey to play some drinking games and killer pool. Pauric managed to win out of the 20 odd people taking part, with me coming a half decent 6th. As the night went on, we then met Andy, Lydia, Tamar and Jordiana, so the group just kept on expanding.

The following day, Team Photo was off to a flying start as we stopped off at Cape Foulwind not too far from Westport. The weather was pretty scabby with rain and wind pounding down on us in waves as we walked along the turbulent coastline.

Morning-Sunshine, Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Morning Sunshine at Cape Foulwind – New Zealand

Huts, Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Huts – Cape Foulwind, New Zealand

Lighthouse, Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Lighthouse – Cape Foulwind, New Zealand

Coves-of-Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Coves of Cape Foulwind, New Zealand

Cape-Foulwind-Coastline, New-Zealand

Cape Foulwind Coastline, New Zealand

Cape-Foulwind-Countryside, New-Zealand

Cape Foulwind Countryside, New Zealand

Rocky-Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Rocky Cape Foulwind – New Zealand

Ways-to-Exit-New-Zealand, Cape-Foulwind

Ways to Exit New Zealand – Cape Foulwind

Algae-Rocks, Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Algae Rocks – Cape Foulwind, New Zealand

Beaches-of-Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Beaches of Cape Foulwind, New Zealand

Foggy-Road, Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Foggy Road – Cape Foulwind, New Zealand

Later, we also had a chance to wander around the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks – this was like a little fantasy grotto land with the rock formation seemingly formed artistically rather than naturally. Nearby, huge blow holes would shoot water out into the air spectacularly soaking everything and everybody around them.

Beaches-at-Punakaiki, New-Zealand

Beaches at Punakaiki, New Zealand

Punakaiki-Cove, New-Zealand

Punakaiki Cove, New Zealand

The-Gang-at-Punakaiki, New-Zealand

The Gang at Punakaiki, New Zealand

Blow-Holes-of-Punakaiki, New-Zealand

Blow Holes of Punakaiki, New Zealand

Punakaiki-Pancake-Rocks, New-Zealand

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks – New Zealand

Punakaiki-Pancake-Rock-Formations, New-Zealand

Punakaiki Pancake Rock Formations – New Zealand

From there, we then moved onto Lake Mahinapua for the main party event of the trip – the Poo Party. The theme was Bright But Tight or Bad Taste and we had an hour or so in the nearby town to do a quick sweep of any gear for fancy dress. I dressed up as an old granny in a disgusting stained pink jumper, a stained tea cosy for a hat, some fake glasses and some amazing yellow trousers. Pauric dressed up like a Noddy-cum-fireman, with Quay buying the tightest clothing he could possibly find.

Sunset-at-Lake-Mahinapua, New-Zealand

Sunset at Lake Mahinapua, New Zealand

Lake-Mahinapua, New-Zealand

Lake Mahinapua, New Zealand

Dressed-up-for-the-Poo-Party, Lake-Mahinapua, New-Zealand

Dressed up for the Poo Party, Lake Mahinapua, New Zealand

Steak dinner was later served up to the hungry rabble in preparation for the ensuing drinking session that left us all in disarray for the next day’s trip to Franz Josef.

Further Reading

Nelson Lakes National Park

Buller Adventure Tours

Lake Mahinapua

More Photography :

“The Photography Collection” by Antematters

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