Fresh from an early start and a three hour bus ride, we arrived in sunny Westport. We rocked up to our hostel, Bazil’s Hostel and Surf School, a place that seemed really cool on the surface. We’d later come to learn it was run by totally rude, dicks (sorry for swearing Mum & Dad) but I won’t go into details on that one.
Westport is a really small town and if you’re passing by, I’d recommend making it a quick stop, one night max. We found ourselves stuck there for FIVE nights, due to the only bus out of town being full or accommodation in the next town being fully booked. Five nights is a lot of time to spend anywhere whilst you’re travelling and without the use of a car, Westport really doesn’t have much to keep you occupied unfortunately. The Canadians and I took the extra time to recharge and make plans for the next leg of our journey, but believe me when I say we were very much ready to move on by about day three! At least the weather was nice..
Nah, I’m being unfair. Westport definitely had it’s good points. Although, for the first day and a half I was struck down by a mini cold and spent a lot of time laid in bed sneezing. Gross. After chugging litres of fruit juice and stocking up on vitamins, the cold seemed to shift pretty quickly, which surprises me because I have a terrible immune system and usually illnesses like to stick around me for weeks.
The afternoon, we set out on a mission to acquire paints in the hope that we could get a bit crafty. Armed with acrylics, we set about on our #crafternoon, as the three of us painted designs onto a wine bottle that we’d been using for Ben’s portable hookah. As the only one with any vague artistic streak, it was down to me to do the detailed bits. Ben will be very upset if I don’t specify that he did the trees (he was very proud of them!) The end result was by no means a masterpiece, but it was very personal to the time the three of us spent together in Westport!
The next day, we set out in search of the beach. To get there, we had to follow a track that takes you through the Orowaiti lagoon, which was very pretty. Eventually, we made it to a small beach and set up camp by the rocks. As I think I’ve mentioned before in my Napier post, I sometimes find it difficult to sit still on a beach, often needing to occupy myself with a creative task; I’m basically a child. This beach was one of those occasions and I set about gathering driftwood whilst Harrison and Ben were totally zoned out on their backs, soaking up the rays. Soon, Harrison cottoned onto my plan and decided to help and below was the result!
Do you know how hard it is to craft an “S” and an “O” out of driftwood?!
After this, we had a bit of a paddle and admired how glittery the sea looked as it rolled over our toes. It really seemed as if there were gold flakes floating in the water, it was so weird. I’ve just read that it was once a gold mining town so hey, who knows, maybe it was ACTUAL gold…
Since we were staying at a hostel / surf school, the boys decided that they wanted to surf. I decided that I did not, as I’m not the strongest swimmer, nor was it too long ago that I would’ve swam in the sea at all (it’s scary okay). I did, however, decide that another day by the sea wouldn’t go a miss for my pastey white skin and so I happily agreed to be the bag lady on the beach.
One of the few attractions in the Westport area that I was actually keen to see, was the seal colony on Cape Foulwind, a 10/15 minute drive away. Without a car, our only option was to walk (which would take two hours) or to get on our bikes and pedal. I think I mentioned before, I’ve barely ridden a bike since I was about 12 and I’ve got to say, I am not a fan. We set out towards cape foulwind and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t slow the boys down; I am UNFIT!
It was a nice ride out, largely flat which is always a bonus, but it seemed to be very far. (Later that evening we’d calculate that it was a 34km round trip……..) Luckily, we’d waited until the late afternoon to leave, I think if we’d gone at lunchtime the heat would’ve killed us. Finally we made it, and I couldn’t wait to get off my bloody bike. The boys decided to carry on up the cliff walk on their bikes but I was having none of it. I went to do a walk and I was jolly well going to walk it (even though my legs were pretty much jelly by this point!)
The wooden walkway around the cape was beautiful and I really enjoyed spotting weka birds hiding in the greenery that lined the path. I kept my eyes peeled for the penguins that apparently nest there too, but with no luck.
After a short stroll, I made it to the main viewing platform, where Ben and Harrison were already spotting seals. I say spotting, as if you could possibly miss them, there were loads! We were positioned up on the cliffs looking down over the colony on the rocks below, and it was the perfect vantage point to watch them navigating the rocks and also swimming about in the shallows. I have to say, this was one of my favourite spots in the whole of New Zealand so far, I spent aaages just watching them playing in the water.
Even without the seals, the views were stunning. The air was thick and heavy, as it’d been a really humid day, and it made for a beautiful hazy sky.
When I could finally tear myself from going “awww” at the seals, we just had time for a quick poke around on the beach.
The 17km ride back loomed over us and we thought it best to head off before it started getting dark. We made it back just as the sun was setting and I cried “I f***ing hate bikes” for about the millionth time that day.
When we made it back to the hostel, I went immediately for the shower, where the day was rounded off with one of my favourite moments of the entire trip. I was in one shower cubicle, playing my music as I do (a silent shower is just wrong) and Ben decided he’d pitch up in the cubicle next to me and attempt to drown out my music with his terrible country music. I had been playing The Beatles obviously, but I gave up because Ben’s awful racket was too much to drown out. But then, Harrison pitched up in the cubicle on from Ben and put his music on, much to my glee; The Beatles – Twist and Shout. Ben knew he was defeated and so resigned himself to it. It got to the part in the song after George’s guitar solo where they sing “aaah, aaah, aaah” in harmony and sure enough the three of us chose an “aaah” and all joined in in order of our cubicles, echoing through the whole hostel probably! That’s going to be the memory I take from Westport.