Harriet's OE Journal travel blog


Seal colony

The beach

Lake Mahinapua

Lake Mahinapua

"Bad Taste"

We departed Westport thankfully on Thursday morning and our first "hop off the bus for a walk" stop was along the coast line to a lighthouse and then on a bit more to a seal colony. The views were fantastic and down below us a hundred or so seals were lying on the rocks just chilling out after fishing and what not. Then we all got back on the bus again that had been moved to the end of the track.

We had a lunch stop at a place called Punakaiki where they had pancake rocks and blow holes that didn't do anything. Then it was time for fancy dress costume shopping in Greymouth. Our driver Spud stopped outside the Salvation Army charity shop and the whole bus filed into the shop to try and find a "bad taste" costume. There were rails and rails of clothes and we managed to find some really bad taste stuff! We had an hour to kill so we mooched around the old mining town and the girls managed to find showercaps and swimming armbands in The Warehouse to go with their swimming costume outfits.

We arrived at the Mahinapua Hotel which is just over the road from the lake and next to the beach, and the place is run by an 84 year old man called Les with a long white beard and the Kiwi Experience bus is the only backpacker bus that stops here. It was a similar set up to Surf Camp and we can tin cans to sleep in but with heaters this time so we were nice and cosy that night.

We checked into our cabins and acquainted ourselves with the toilets, showers and kitchen that were all outside next to this caravan. Then we made a cuppa to warm up and headed to the beach which was just down the track next to hotel. Then we crossed over the road, which you could see down for miles, and followed the track to Lake Mahinapua which was pretty jaw dropping. We took some photos then sat on the jetty and took in the view before it got too dark.

For dinner Les cooked us all massive steaks on the BBQ and we had pasta, potatoes, veges and venison stew. Then it was time to get changed into our "bad taste" costumes. I'd picked out a Christmas t-shirt, grey sports trousers and a sun hat, so I basically looked like an American tourist. Other people had crazy patterned tops, Lee wore a green shellsuit and purple trousers and his partner Beth made a Marmite costume our of cardboard and drew a Marmite label, stuck it on and put a yellow plastic bag on her head.

The party was really good fun in Les' pub and there was a lot of cross dressing going on with the boys that night. We also had a juke box to pick our own songs and played the peg game where you had to attach a clothes peg to someone without them seeing, and count down from 10. If they hadn't found it by 1 then they had to down their drink. Another one was "God Save The Queen" when someone would throw a coin in your drink and you had to down it before the coin reached the bottom...

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