Since we had skipped the Franz Joseph Glacier the night before and the closest church was nearly 2.5 hours away we had a problem. If anyone wanted to see the Glacier it would have to be a pre-dawn hike. After our late night celebrating only Mike and I took up the charge. Armed with headlamps and beanies we attempted a brisk walk in the darkness up to the Glacier. The sign said 45 minutes. By the time we reached the Glacier and the waterfalls the first touches of dawn had hit the trail and by the time we returned to the viewpoint we were in for a treat-sunrise over the Glacier. We must have sat there for more than 15 minutes knowing we were late to get the kids up for church but unable to leave the hold that Mother Nature had on us. It was our most surreal moment of our New Zealand adventure thus far.
With difficulty we pulled ourselves away, went back to the house, woke and encouraged the kids, took a long drive and arrived late at the little branch in Greymouth where we were embraced by the members.
After church we visited a geological wonder-Punakaiki Rocks–amazing limestone rocks stacked onto each other like a giant stack of pancakes with the strong ocean pounding in between them. They were amazing. Much cooler than I had envisioned. We loved them.
After a beautiful coastal drive we arrived in Westport at our great house and dropped all our gear. I had read to everyone about a beloved walk about 30 minutes away called the “Charming Creek Walkway” which everyone was game to walk for our Sunday stroll. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the trailhead we learned that there had been a rockslide and the trail was closed off 1 km in. We decided to walk the first kilometer and assess the situation. Mike promptly decided when we reached the barrier that we should climb right over it and carry on past all the DANGER ROCK SLIDE area signs. Ahhhhh! Trying to present a untied front while infusing caution into the situation, I tried to keep up. As our family had grown and as my responsibilities have increased I have become more risk averse. Mike is very comfortable with risk and actually enjoys the rush of pushing the limits. I am often pushed out of my comfort zone. So……on we went past rock falls, through tunnels, over tracks and to beautiful waterfalls. It was a a lovely tramp, but I have to admit I didn’t relax until we had returned safely to the car!!