Driving south along New Zealand’s famous wild west coast, beautiful natural landscapes surrounded us. On one side, mountains loomed high above. The contrast between their hard, rocky faces and the lush greenery that covered them highlighted how isolated and alone we were out here. It seemed like nature was untouched and untainted by man, and it reminded me again of why so many people love this country.
On the other side of us, waves pounded the shore for miles. Their strength generated a spray that covered the coastline in a foggy haze. The wind whipped the crests of the waves and surging white wash covered the sand. It reminded me of Oahu’s North Shore during the winter, but the oddest thing was that it was completely devoid of people. There weren’t any surfers, casual wave watchers, professional photographers or carloads of tourists making their way up and down the coast to catch a glimpse of Mother Nature. We were completely alone out here except for the rare camper van or tour bus that passed us.
We stopped at Irimahuwhero Viewpoint for a photo opp and the view was incredible. You could hear the surf hitting the sand below us and smell the salty sea air with every breath you took. The light shining off the water created dazzling crystal-like effects.
Farther along, we did a short hike at the Truman Track. At this point, we were racing against the weather as dark clouds were rolling in off the water. The Truman Track was an easy trail that led you from the road through a forested area to a rocky lookout. Here you were able to get an up-close and personal feel for the waves and the power they generated.
Being from Hawaii, I definitely have a healthy respect for the ocean and am more familiar with it than many of people with whom I traveled. It was really interesting to see how people reacted to the swells as they tumbled over rocky outcrops. Many were simply amazed by it all and couldn’t seem to take enough photos.
I, however, was more interested in watching the battle between the storm clouds and the sun. Just like in Australia’s Red Center, the sky here seemed to go on forever. With nothing to obstruct your view, the horizon stretched on for miles and seemed insanely far away. With this backdrop, I stood transfixed and simply watched the storm advance across the sky and prepare its siege against the happy sun.
Before I could really watch the action unfold, it was time to return to the bus and make one last stop before pulling into Greymouth for the night. So, with a heavy heart, I said farewell to ensuing battle between the sun and the storm.