23:15 - Westport, Paparoa National Park, Greymouth - The drive westward to Paparoa National Park was wonderful, and the park itself (despite the shroud of fog and rain that seems to be following us everywhere) was beautiful as well. Paparoa National Park features a sharp, tree-covered mountain range with coastal roads showing off neat rock formations, including an area where the rocks look like stacked "pancakes." We enjoyed the drive and short walks a lot, but we almost ran out of gas. Luckily, Murchison had a gas station that was open late on Saturdays. :) We tried to eat dinner there, but there were only three places with food, and ... the town just didn't have a good feel to it. It was completely deserted, except for two local pubs whose clientele were 100% men, drinking. And so we drove back to St. Arnaud and ate again at the hotel restaurant. The food was fair.
The roads we were traveling on today had very few cars on them; it wasn't unusual for us to drive for fifteen minutes or more without seeing another car (or any people, for that matter). Where is everyone? We had heard that NZ would be quite crowded during this time of year, but we're finding the opposite to be true.
The light has been entirely unfavorable for taking photographs, and I would even venture to say that all of the photos I took today were poor in terms of technical artistry. The sky is overcast and extremely bright when compared to the brightness of the terrain below, and without a proper filter, it is impossible to expose both accurately with one frame. It's been a bit frustrating! At least I'm getting snapshots, I guess. :)
We're listening to the same music over and over again, because we only have two CDs to listen to in the car (burned from MP3 collections). One is a Vienna Teng compilation of her released songs and songs recorded from concerts at my house. The other is a mix that Norm and Teri made (Billy Joel, Simon & Garfunkle, and some others).