9th Jul 2012
Greymouth and the Kiwi famous Pu Pub!
We were pretty happy to be leaving the very local town of Westport for our journey further south along the coast to another town in the middle of nowhere – Greymouth. But we were visiting some spectacular places on the way…
First stop was a fairly long coastal walk at Cape Foulwind and what a morning we had for it! The sun was shining and the views out to sea were breath-taking. It was a gorgeous walk over some rocky cliffs spotting a lighthouse, secluded bays and small islands out to the very blue ocean. And to top it all off we even came across a seal colony! A fantastic start to the morning and it was so lovely to get up close to the south island’s rugged and wild coastline.
From here, we continued our drive through more spectacular landscape until Lauren, our spontaneous bus driver, decided to veer off route and find a very untouched spot for us to roam. So untouched that neither of us can remember the name of it but a short drive off the main road and we reached a small car park overlooking a very quiet bay. It was lovely but Lauren quickly led us over a small hill and out onto the very wet and high rocks which looked out to the rough seas. The view was incredible and the power of the waves was immense! We all sat there and just watched as the huge white surf crashed into the jagged rocks creating far-reaching spray and clouds of water. It was amazing!
So back on the bus and off to our next tourist spot for the day – the famous Pancake Rocks. And yes, they literally look like pancakes, layers of rock folded on top of each other in neat piles which stretch out high above the sea. It was a weird site and what was even stranger was the fact that no one really knows how they were formed. But they were truly remarkable and again we were treated to some gorgeous views along the coast and out to sea. Beautiful!
And with the touristy stuff done, we continued the stunning drive to Greymouth – another mining town with not much going on but our main reason for the stop was to sort out our costumes! Yes, costumes! It is Kiwi Experience tradition to stop off at a very remote pub in Lake Mahinapua, now lovingly called the Pu Pub, for a massive steak night, fancy dress and party! And there were prizes for the best dressed so the competition was on! We had voted for a T Party theme meaning you had to come dressed as something beginning with the letter T so obviously Chris chose terrorist, and I chose tiger purely because I had a sort-of stripy top I could get away with.
So the pressure was on in Westport to find things for our outfits and together with our new bus friends, Sarah, Dan, Teresa, Leigh, Vivienne and Leo, we began the search which believe it or not started in a Salvation Army Store! And what a store it was! I found a disgusting furry orange cushion for 50cents and Sarah spotted the perfect blue striped kaftan top for a terrorist! Coupled with a golf-shade hat which I decided to cut up for my head piece, Chris and I were doing well. From here, we scooted around various other cheap stores collecting balloons, party poppers and stick-on letters and we were sorted! Well, we hoped we were and fingers crossed it would come together later on!
With the panic buying done, it was off to the Pu Pub, and en route Lauren told us a little story about the place. It’s owned by a very old man called Les who is now about 97 years old and is opened just for the fun of all Kiwi Experience travellers. His empire includes some very basic but incredibly clean lodges (apparently he’s a clean freak and sprays for bed bugs every day!), a big dining room with ample grilling facilities and a very old-fashioned pub complete with an open fire, a million hats on the ceiling, a free pool table and loads of booze! Les is a legend amongst all Kiwi Experience travellers and the one night he hosts is apparently an epic one. On top of a good old party, he also cooks a big dinner for us, and on the menu is all-you-can-eat steak, potatoes, coleslaw and loads of veg – perfect!
So having settled in to the very cold and primitive sheds, Chris and I decided to start making our costumes in the hope that it would all come together in the end…and it did. I had just about finished gluing down my last section of tail before dinner time so we made our way across to the dining room for the feast! And to our surprise, there was Les in his apron cooking us our steaks on the grill. What a man! And the food was amazing! Thanks Les!
And with full bellies it was time to get ready for the part-ay! Chris blacked up his beard and tied up his make-shift bomb belt (a.k.a. party poppers tied up to a piece of string!) to finish off his costume, and I geared up with a tail, ears and trainer covers to look like paws! Done! And along with our friends, the Tasmanian Devil, a T-bird from Greece and a tart we made our way to the pub. It was a wicked night and great to share some fantastic memories with new friends! And the costumes were brilliant – the tooth fairy, trash-bag, Tutankhamen, teacher, traffic light and a couple of Tin Men! Although Chris was disappointed that there was another terrorist, and this one happened to be from Egypt so was a little more convincing! But we still made a good effort despite losing out 1st place to the Tooth Fairy a.k.a. Darren from Essex!
Unfortunately, after such a brilliant night there are only sore heads in the morning and it was quite an early start for our trip to Franz Joseph! A place we had both been looking forward to for ages! So having waved goodbye to the Les the legend the wheels rolled yet again!