Cape Foulwind to Pancake Rocks
Cape Foulwind seals and surf to walks, talks and pancake rocks on New Zealand’s South Island
Cape Foulwind to Pancake Rocks, New Zealand
Taurangu Bay, on Cape Foulwind, is favored by hundreds of Kekeno (New Zealand fur seals) for its safe, rocky shore and wild food-rich sea. Captain Cook wasn’t as impressed with this point of land as the seals, when in March 1770 his ship ‘Endeavour’ was so hammered with persistent rain and gales, he logged it ‘Cape Foulwind’ … and the name stuck. Where we parked the car the beach was smooth and reflected the name ‘Taurangu’ which is a Maori name referring to the sheltered anchorage the bay provided their canoes.
A footpath took us up to a lookout over the Cape where we observed, as far as the eye could see, waves bashing against the rocks. At first glance it did not seem a place where any animal would want to raise its offspring but on closer inspection we could see numerous seals and seal pups. The rocks create protective pools for the young seal pups to get adjusted to life at sea.
Further along the coast we stopped and did the ‘Truman Track’. The trail wandered down through tropical vegetation and out onto a beach. Here we witnessed, close up, the never-ending surging water assaulting the base of the tall cliffs.
We expected the North Island to be much more lush and green than we found it thus were surprised how tropical the northern part of the South Island is.
Other than for one day on the North Island, the weather has been incredible. We live in shorts (even Sherrie!). Even though today’s sky had gray clouds … it has been warm and sunny most of the time.
We played in the surf … got a little wet … laughed …and talked about how wonderful it would be to share this with family.
Further south are the Pancake Rocks. In an age where so many phenomenon have been explained by experts, nature still clings to a few secrets. The Pancake Rocks of Panakaiki are among them. Scientists know the rocks are limestone, formed under the sea 35 million years ago by fragments of marine organisms. What they cannot quite understand is precisely how the rocks came to be in layers.
There are also big blow holes which the signage said are very impressive when the tide is in and there are stormy conditions. We were there when the tide was relatively low … on a pleasant summer’s day … but still found the scene awesome.
We nearly ran out of gas … but a convenience store bailed us out with an expensive 1½ gallon container (not the first time for them).
So many of the beds we have encountered at New Zealand B&Bs have been soft to the point of making sleep difficult but … after a full day of walking and breathing the fresh salty air … not this night.
SIGHTSEEING ON THE NORTHERN WEST-COAST
WESTPORT I-SITE VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE
For up to date places to stay, places to go and things to do on the Northern West-Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, the helpful website and friendly folks at Westport’s Visitor Information Centre will help you make YOUR time in the area memorable.
Address: 123 Palmerston Street, Westport
Phone: 03 789 6658