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We left Hokitika this morning and followed the coast north. There were lots of places to stop and take photos.

First we travelled off the beaten path and back in time to the Woods Creek Track for a history lesson of gold mining in the area. The short path took us along the creek, through tunnels and over a suspension bridge, all the way explaining the hardships faced by the miners. Even in the middle of nowhere the parks signage has been awesome.

The water race – a sluiceway miners used to clear excess gravel from the mine site (it is deeper than it looks!)
The tunnels were all dug by hand
Most with shafts in the ceiling to let in some light
Tunnel entry way was narrow!
Getting a Temple of Doom vibe!

Back on the coast, the beautiful scenery continued

Memorial to a coal mining accident in the 60’s
The view from one of the hair pin turns on the highway.
Lots of sandstone islands scattered along the coast.

The Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki were formed about 30 million years ago. Fragments of dead marine creatures and plants on the seabed solidified into hard and softer layers due to immense pressure, then were lifted up by seismic activity and eroded/sculpted by wind and water.

Looks like a huge stack of pancakes!
Eroded pancake stacks
A couple of Hector’s Dolphins showed off for us – they don’t jump out of the water like other dolphins do, so this is the best shot we could get

Just down the road was the Punakaiki Cavern – dark and drippy but interesting for a quick explore

Just before we checked into our hotel we made one last stop at Constant Bay. More locally known and Inconsistent Bay as it’s been a scene of many shipwrecks and deaths. Very pretty if you don’t go in the water.

Tomorrow we will hike along the coast and hopefully play with seals.

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