The New Zealand Diaries: of West Coast views (09/01/16 part 2)

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Well, if I ever reach my destination today it will be nothing short of a miracle. I left Fox Glacier 4 hours ago and what could have been a 1.5 hour drive has taken me 4 so far.

What a drive. After my little stint at beautiful Bruce Bay, I continued driving–past fields to my left and right, surrounded by mountains, followed by curvy hill roads lined with lush trees and bushes, feeding-and playgrounds for birds and doubtless many other creatures. They are not just green but many shades of green, sometimes intercepted by a red tree or bush or by yellow butter cups. It makes me gasp for air, instinctively put my foot on my break to capture the sight in my heart forever. There is often nowhere to stop, and in any case no photo could do justice to the picture as a whole with its colours and the sheer vast spread of beauty all around.

And then, just when you think it could not get any more beautiful, you suddenly come round a bend to be surprised by a turquoise bay like Bruce Bay earlier, or a dark blue lake surrounded by lush green trees, or a small lagoon surrounded by seagulls and ducks. Knight’s points afforded a magnificent view of a turquoise sea dotted with rock formations, no doubt home to many happy sea lions (a sea lion colony does live there but I did not see any today).

And now I have reached Haast Beach. I expected a little sea side town with ice cream vans and fish and chip shops and yes, there is a petrol station and a small shop (though in true New Zealand style, it is already closed given the hour). I love the way that kiwis resist commercialism, refrain from exploiting every commercial opportunity …..and goodness would there be many here, practically round every corner. But quietly confident, grasping that part of the beauty of the spirit of this place resides in the quiet conviction that shops, restaurants and other touristy quirks are not needed,most places remain unspoilt. The tourist adapts to opening hours, not the other way round. I love it.

As I sit here, miles of sandy beach stretches out on either side of me. I feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and on the sand which is tickling my feet and am so reluctant to leave the coast. Everything is precious, and I could stop at practically every spot and spend days walking and exploring.

What a blessing to know that all these moments, sights and sounds will be safe in the treasure box of my memory, to pick out on a rainy day and bring back a gentle breeze of sea air, the buzzing of bees, the song of birds , glorious views or the gentle sound of water……all that will be needed will be a moment of quietness and a glimpse through the keyhole of my heart.

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