Thursday, September 15, 2016

South Island Trip - Day 2: Greymouth and Fox Glacier

From Westport to Greymouth was another long drive of several hours.  We broke it up by stopping two places along the way.  Our first break was at  Cape Foulwind Walkway & Seal Colony Walk

Their website has this to say about it:
"A short walk with spectacular ocean views, steeple rocks, and a large year-round fur sea colony.   
One of New Zealand’s most accessible seal colonies can be found just out of Westport on the edge of Tauranga Bay. The 10 -minute track from the car park is suitable for wheelchairs and leads to viewing platforms directly overlooking the colony. Although this is a year-round colony, the best time to view is October to March when the big bull seals return to mate and the pups are at their most playful."

We didn't stay long, but it felt good to stretch our legs a bit and appreciate the views. 

Then after a bit longer drive we got to Punakaiki, home of Pancake Rocks & Blowholes.  We took a bit longer break here to full appreciate the trails, and then stopped at the cafe to order PANCAKES - what else?
 When my sister came to visit us in May it was quite rainy.  Because of that was that we had rainbows every day of her visit.  This trip we had mostly clear skies, so there were no rainbows. However, at the blowholes of pancake rocks there was enough mist pushed into the air to make a doozie of a rainbow that made me think of my sister and smile.

When we got back on the road from that point we drove fairly close to the coastline for several miles.  We took LOTS of photos of scene after scene of the beautiful ocean views, but none of the pictures come even close to capturing the feeling we had being there.

Finally we arrived at Greymouth.  

Photo from Trip Advisor

The town of Greymouth gets its name from being situated at the mouth of the Grey River.  According to Wikipedia, "Greymouth is the largest town in the West Coast region in the South Island of New Zealand, and the seat of the Grey District Council. The population of the whole Grey District is 13,650, which accounts for 42% of the West Coast's inhabitants. The Greymouth urban area had an estimated population of 9,850 (June 2015 estimates).[1] The District Council expects growth of 1.5% per year between 2006 and 2016.[2]

The town is located at the mouth of the Grey River, on a narrow coastal plain close to the foot of the Southern Alps. In clear weather, Aoraki / Mount Cook can be clearly seen to the south from near the town. "
We definitely got some gorgeous views of the mountains driving through town.

We had an appointment at 1:00 PM at the Family History Center to meet with  Elder and Sister Snow who are full time Senior Missionaries assigned to that area in the role of member and leadership support.  
Again, we installed the resource files and took inventory, then chatted about how things were going in the FHC.  
Elder & Sister Snow with their Family 15 Charts

 With just one computer they are limited in how many people they can serve, but Sister Snow has managed to help several members of their small branch.  Also there is a FH Consultant, Boleta, who works in the center one day each week.  We met Boleta at the very beginning of our mission when she came to Auckland, so I would have liked to catch up with her now that we are near the end.  Unfortunately she was not available to be there the day we came.

Greymouth FHC
After sharing some mission stories with the Snows and wishing them well, it was time to get back into the car and head on down the road to make it to the small mountain town of Fox Glacier, where we would be spending the night.

When we got there, the views were absolutely stunning.

We got ourselves a bite to eat at the Bigfoot Restaurant, then back at our room ended the evening with a toast to another successful day on the road.  (Yeah, we're Mormon Missionaries, so our "toast" was with milk. What can I say?)

We had covered lots of ground over a short time.  We had seen beaches, bush, and incredible mountains and valleys.  We were just getting started on our South Island Sojourn, and already we were feeling like our hearts were full with the beauty and love that we felt.  Living in this land has been such an amazing privilege and adventure.  As much as it has been a delight to fully experience the North Island, we were feeling deeply grateful to get to end up our mission with this taste of the other half of our adopted country.

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