This morning we headed out to the Brunner Suspension bridge. This was a bridge that was built to create a link to the mine sites. This was one of New Zealand's earliest suspension bridges – it opened in 1864. Kind of weird to think that as this bridge was being built, the Civil War was going on in the US. This bridge was at a very interesting site due to the coal mine history. There were several buildings and placards telling information about the mine and the bridge. There had been a very famous (in New Zealand) mine disaster in the very late 1800's and there was a lot of information about this. I thought it was very interesting that there had been four horses that refused to go into the mine that day. The miners were only able to get the horses into the mine after they covered their eyes with cloths. Ultimately, the horses died in the explosion. But they must have sensed something was up.
After the visit to the bridge we headed to the West Coast. We drove to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. When we arrived it was pouring down rain. There was a break in the rain so we headed to the loop trail and to see the rocks and blowholes. As we were on our hike it rained some more and we all got wet. Still, the rocks were pretty neat to see. I enjoyed listening to the blow holes and watching the waves crash against the rocks. There was one place where the waves created a sort of chimney – as the waves crashed against the rocks it seemed like they created steam.
We had a quick snack in the cafe and then we continued our drive up north and then back towards the east. We stopped on the route to see the Buller Gorge Swing bridge. Well – Rachel and I stayed in the car and the men went to see it. You actually had to pay to cross it. According to the men it was very wobbly.
We ended up arriving at our Nelson rental around 6:30 PM. This rental is right on the harbor. After unloading our stuff we noticed a seafood restaurant across the street and we decided to eat there. This was probably the best dinner we have had so far, in terms of everyone getting along (kids and parents included). We learned that the owner of the restaurant was actually from Brainerd, MN…an area that I have family members in. She also attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison. So of course we had to see if we could find a person that we both knew (we did not).
Finally, we came back to the rental and started doing laundry and going to bed. We had to be up early the next morning.