After basically being tossed out of the camp facilities with toothbrush still in mouth, in the name of cleaning by the camp hosts, we hit the road and left Punakaiki. The cost of this service was $24 just to park our camper (no power) and to use the toilets. So we felt pretty much ripped off with this deal - especially to be booted out of the facilities mid way through using them. Two other poor chaps were also using the facilities, one halfway through shaving the other showering. After that second rate treatment, we made a beeline for Greymouth in the hope to find internet to update our websites and pick up our office mail.
At the local Information Centre, we were given rather backward directions to a cafe which offers plug in internet for laptops (which turned out to be in the complete opposite direction). Although we never found the original cafe in question, we did find another which claimed to offer this service only to find out that they couldn't help after we'd fetched our laptops ... grrrrrr!!
So onwards and upwards, we decided to head off. The weather transpired into the predicted heavy rainfall - what else, this is the West Coast right!! The only unfortunate thing about the rain was that our camper started to leak like a sieve!!
We wonder what is becoming of the quality standards on the West Coast - grumpy hosts, bad directions from the info centre, and now faulty equipment!! Just a bad day?! We don't want to be too picky, we are actually very easy going - but paying prime for a camper, which was not clean when we picked it up to start with, and then as soon as we hit heavy rain we have to figure out that it leaks in several spots?? Just happy this didn't happen during the night, our bed would have been soaking wet.
It was a double bugger day, so we drove to the end of the West Coast to Haast, where our camping experience here was rounded off when the host there wanted another $24 just for parking. Then the icing on the cake is that we also had to pay for showers - yeah right!!
Turning inland from Haast we found a nice "nature" campground or pull-out about 20km up the road away from other campers and town lights. So ends a brief encounter with the West Coast. But we will be back, because it is still one of the most spectacular spots on the South Island and New Zealand.
Our decision today to make a beeline was based on our little time we have left on the first part of the trip - if the West Coast is rainy - there is not a lot you can do.
We will be back in January and hopefully have more luck with the weather... and better experience with camping!
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