Something about the area around Punakaiki makes your blood fizz. Paparoa National Park is wild and lush and feels like an adventure waiting to happen. In fact, our time in Punakaiki even started with an adventure. A couple of weeks prior to our arrival, we’d detected a small gas leak in our bus, which meant we could only run the fridge from solar when freedom camping. The day we drove to Punakaiki our 24V battery system acted up though, melted (not blown) a fuse, and showed pretty erratic behavior. Then rolling into the freedom camp in Punakaiki we noticed a flat tyre on one of the inner back wheels. Licking our wounds (and eyeing the bank balance) we dragged ourselves to the proper beach camp to regroup and figure out how we were going to spend the planned four weeks here without blowing the budget.
From the start though Punakaiki was nice to us and a week of sunshine made it easier to digest the call out fee for getting the tyre fixed. Free excitement for the kids included!
Patched up we went to Mel Parsons & James Nokise’s show in Barrytown. The kids survived the first half of the show with comedy act James (which was brilliant, by the way), and then announced they needed to go to bed. We put them in the bus that was parked across the road and watched Mel Parsons for the second half (equally brilliant), darting back to the bus every 10 minutes or so to check. Excitement for us!
We had a chance encounter with a gasfitter from Greymouth (WestGasLtd – Mikhael), who checked our system and fixed the gas leak, so after about two weeks here we were able to freedom camp again. Great!
Flinging rocks, flying kites, climbing heights
The beaches were calling, and we came. Abandoned beach huts, wildlife, rocks, waves… The kids look so natural in this environment, and it’s part of the beauty for me that I feel they share my excitement.