When I turn on the road trip playlist this morning, the song Down Under comes up and it makes me realize that up till recently I didn’t know how the land down under was. It makes me appreciate that I’m on this adventure. It’s so easy to take things for granted, even when you’re traveling on the other side of the world. After some days it can just become normal to you. I know that in a couple of weeks I’ll be back home and look back on this great adventure and on all the things I did here. I know that I better enjoy it to the fullest, because I don’t know when or if I’ll come back here.

Following the West Coast heading North
Pancake Rocks 3
Me at the Pancake Rocks
Pancake Rocks
Pancake Rocks 4
Too clouded to fly
Pancake Rocks 2
Pancake Rocks 5
Last view of the moutains in the south

My plan is to drive to Kaikoura, which I heard is a nice town on the east coast, but I first make a small detour first to the town Punakaiki where the pancake rocks are. Some people, under who my mom, recommended me to see those. It’s indeed a unique thing to see and it’s not hard to imagine why they’re called pancake rocks. I’m tempted to eat some pancakes in the restaurant next to it, but I don’t do it since I think I’ll bake pancakes soon again anyway. After this nice touristic stop I continue my journey through the mountains. I make another stop at an old mining town called Reef. It’s very old and has only a couple of streets, but the local bakery is very crowded. I get myself some coffee and a gingerbread cookie (I love those) and continue driving.

The road to Kaikoura is the worst I’ve seen in whole New Zealand and it reminds me of the roads in Eastern Europe. It takes a couple of hours to get in Kaikoura and unfortunately it’s raining here as well. The town is pretty small and I’m a bit disappointed. I think with nice weather it could be a good place to be, but now in the rain it’s quite depressing, especially because it was such a long drive to get here. I decide that I don’t want to stay here and turn around. It’ll be a long drive back and the more I’ll drive today, the less I have to do tomorrow morning.

Old miners house
Local bakery in small town Reef
Wisdom is at the corner of the streets
Old miners town - Reef
Time for coffee and something sweet

I decide to break one of my road trip rules and keep driving when it gets dark. Actually it’s a nice experience and fun to push myself a bit further again. The roads are really dark since there are no street lights here and I can’t drive too fast. I’m thankful that there are many trucks driving at night, makes it a lot easier. For a while I’m thinking of driving straight to the ferry, but I’m getting tired and don’t feel like leaving the South Island yet tonight, so I drive to one of my favorite towns of the South Island, Nelson. Around 11 pm I arrive at the camping place I was also a couple of weeks ago. Back then I was almost the only one there, but now the whole area is filled with campers. Fortunately I find a free spot next to the forest, almost the same place where I stayed the last time. I drove for more than 10 hours today and covered over 750 kilometers, so I’m quite exhausted but I also feel accomplished. I’m back in the North and one of these days will take the ferry to the North Island again.