Putting Our Feet Up At Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks

We left Punakaiki yesterday after spending  four nights there resting from days spent exploring all there was to see in that lovely place. After asking a local how many people actually live there, I discovered that the number was even smaller than I had imagined.

She said that she was not exactly sure, but somewhere between 30 and 100 people lived in or close to Punakaiki with most providing services in some way to people like us who come to stay for a few days or those who pass through quickly stopping only for a few posed photos in front of the famous Pancake Rocks. I am going to show you some of what you miss if you think all Punakaiki has to offer are pancakes without syrup.

You can see that the rocks resemble a stack of pancakes from where they take their name.

John and I had the good fortune to be able to stay at a sweet little place just down the beach here about 30 steps from the sea.

In addition to some lovely sea views there was a path along a river in a park not far from where we were staying.

There was almost no one around until we spotted this man in the bushes photographing the river with a baby on his back. I had just snapped the photo below when I saw him and realized that he was photographing his wife and son on the river.

Our day trips included some cave time for me with John keeping an eye on the tide coming in while I went exploring. I’ll show you what I discovered next time.

One of my favorite photos of John lately … taken at sunset not long before I took the picture below.

Punakaiki Beach At Sunset


Two Minutes For 29 New Zealand Miners

A Memorial For The Miners In A Greymouth Shop Window

I woke this morning in Greymouth, New Zealand to the smell of a coal fire burning. John and I were staying in a place that heated its hot water with a coal-burning stove so I assumed that was the origin of the familiar scent.

In the Cornish village where we live in the UK some people still heat their homes with coal and the smell filters through the air more and more as the weather turns colder especially late at night.

This morning was different. Waking in a town where 29 coal miners lost their lives 10 days ago made me keenly aware of how the scent of burning coal might be affecting the families and friends of the men who died in the Pike River tragedy.

I cannot image the pain they must be feeling. What I can do is pause for two minutes to honor their lives and memory with the rest of New Zealand when everything stops for 2 minutes at 2:00 pm today during a memorial service for the miners. I have a feeling that I will be thinking of them even longer … linked as they are now for me with the scent of winter and the security of home.

Two minutes at 2:00 pm.