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 Africa86 votes
76.11%
 South America3 votes
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4.42%
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WheresCherie.COM Quote
"If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability." -- Henry Ford

378--New Zealand: The Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki
@ CherieSpotting     Mar 01 2007 - 13:23 PST
cherie writes: Marjo and I couldn’t resist going to Punakaiki, New Zealand because we couldn’t say the town name without bursting into giggles. In the lush river valley of Punakaiki, we turned into little girls. We stayed in our hostel’s “penguin room” and spent hours bouncing on the trampoline and making silly shapes with our shadows.

Then we ventured to the Tasman Sea and entered a strange limestone dimension formed by glorious erosion. We climbed amongst the sculpted sea-stacks called "the Pancake Rocks", admiring each layer of the 30-million year old pancakes. Of course, we ate "real" pancakes before our journey and brought a gallon of pancake syrup with us!

Finally, we hopped aboard the train. The 224-kilometer Tranz Scenic train journey between Greymouth and Christchurch is heralded as one of the most fantastic train rides in the world. In case the scenery was a disappointment, we assured ourselves a good time with wine, cheese and chocolate. Since Marjo is Dutch, we nibbled on Gouda cheese (although I still can't pronounce 'Gouda' the way the Dutch do—the they say "How-dah".) Sixteen tunnels and five viaducts later we arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Click on each picture to see it full size.

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Cherie with the sculpted limestone sea stacks called "the Pancake Rocks" because the unique rock layers look like pancakes piled on top of each other.

Cherie with the sculpted limestone sea stacks called "the Pancake Rocks" because the unique rock layers look like pancakes piled on top of each other.

Cherie and Marjo eating pancakes (what else would you eat!)before they hike the pancake rocks.

Cherie and Marjo eating pancakes (what else would you eat!)before they hike the pancake rocks.

You can't have pancakes without maple syrup!  (Marjo: Do we have to eat sweets this early in the morning? Cherie: Yes, it's mandatory.)

You can't have pancakes without maple syrup! (Marjo: Do we have to eat sweets this early in the morning? Cherie: Yes, it's mandatory.)

Notice that I am holding a gallon of pancake syrup at the pancake rocks.

Notice that I am holding a gallon of pancake syrup at the pancake rocks.

The craggy pancake rocks viewed through the mist of the Tasman Sea.

The craggy pancake rocks viewed through the mist of the Tasman Sea.

I guess if you're really hungry (or on drugs), the rugged limestone outcrops look like pancakes.

I guess if you're really hungry (or on drugs), the rugged limestone outcrops look like pancakes.

The facinating sculpted limestone.

The facinating sculpted limestone.

All these pancake carbs are making me hungry!  Ice-cream anyone?

All these pancake carbs are making me hungry! Ice-cream anyone?

Marjo makes her decent towards the Tasman Sea.

Marjo makes her decent towards the Tasman Sea.

Cherie enveloped by the misty limestone.

Cherie enveloped by the misty limestone.

Marjo is dwarfed by slabs of ribbed limestone.

Marjo is dwarfed by slabs of ribbed limestone.

Cherie getting a complimentary "sea-salt mist treatment" from the raging Tasman Sea.

Cherie getting a complimentary "sea-salt mist treatment" from the raging Tasman Sea.

Cherie and Marjo surrounded by 30-million year old rock formations.

Cherie and Marjo surrounded by 30-million year old rock formations.

A pocket of water, carved out by the crash of the Tasman Sea, creates a land-bridge.

A pocket of water, carved out by the crash of the Tasman Sea, creates a land-bridge.

Cherie by the other-worldly eroded layers of rock near Punakaiki, New Zealand.

Cherie by the other-worldly eroded layers of rock near Punakaiki, New Zealand.

A wedge of pancake rock.

A wedge of pancake rock.

This funky strange plant seems oddly at home in this land before time.

This funky strange plant seems oddly at home in this land before time.

What do you see?

What do you see?

Magificent slices of limestone that need a lot of butter and syrup before I'll call them pancakes.

Magificent slices of limestone that need a lot of butter and syrup before I'll call them pancakes.

Cherie and Marjo on top of a pancake chimney.

Cherie and Marjo on top of a pancake chimney.

Santa makes this "going down the chimney" stuff look easy.

Santa makes this "going down the chimney" stuff look easy.

The waves turn hunks of limestone into works of beauty.

The waves turn hunks of limestone into works of beauty.

This one clump of vibrant leaves is holding onto life.  It doens't care if the whole tree dies--it will survive.

This one clump of vibrant leaves is holding onto life. It doens't care if the whole tree dies--it will survive.

An interesting cloud smears the blue sky.

An interesting cloud smears the blue sky.

The lonely palm.

The lonely palm.

Cherie and Marjo explore the Punakaiki River Valley.

Cherie and Marjo explore the Punakaiki River Valley.

In the name of chastity, Marjo is covering her punakaiki.

In the name of chastity, Marjo is covering her punakaiki.

Brilliant yellow wildflowers bask in the sun.

Brilliant yellow wildflowers bask in the sun.

Who knew that your shadow could be so much fun?

Who knew that your shadow could be so much fun?

Can you think of a better way to spend the afternoon than to make silly shadows?

Can you think of a better way to spend the afternoon than to make silly shadows?

One giant step for woman-kind!

One giant step for woman-kind!

Cherie and Marjo.

Cherie and Marjo.

Two horses pose in the Punakaiki River Valley.

Two horses pose in the Punakaiki River Valley.

Back at the hostel we sleep in the "Penguin Room."

Back at the hostel we sleep in the "Penguin Room."

Although I slept with the penguin, he was a perfect gentleman.

Although I slept with the penguin, he was a perfect gentleman.

Marjo bounces on the trampoline in back of our hostel.

Marjo bounces on the trampoline in back of our hostel.

Who says you can't be silly and exercise at the same time?

Who says you can't be silly and exercise at the same time?

Cherie with her ticket for the Tranz Scenic train journey betwee Greymouth and Christchurch, New Zealand.

Cherie with her ticket for the Tranz Scenic train journey betwee Greymouth and Christchurch, New Zealand.

Marjo at the Greymouth Train Station.

Marjo at the Greymouth Train Station.

Marjo and Cherie ready to take the 224-kilometer Tranz Scenic train journey with a few bottles of wine (and some to share!)

Marjo and Cherie ready to take the 224-kilometer Tranz Scenic train journey with a few bottles of wine (and some to share!)

Time to cross New Zealand's Southern Alps.  All aboard!

Time to cross New Zealand's Southern Alps. All aboard!

Cherie and Marjo at "Arthur's Pass" in the Southern Alps.

Cherie and Marjo at "Arthur's Pass" in the Southern Alps.

The train snakes across New Zealand from the plains of Canterbury to the valleys of the Waimakariri River, through the peaks of the Southern Alps.

The train snakes across New Zealand from the plains of Canterbury to the valleys of the Waimakariri River, through the peaks of the Southern Alps.

Since Marjo is Dutch, we had to have Gouda cheese.  Although I still can't pronouce 'Gouda' the way the Dutch do.  The Dutch say "How-dah" cheese.

Since Marjo is Dutch, we had to have Gouda cheese. Although I still can't pronouce 'Gouda' the way the Dutch do. The Dutch say "How-dah" cheese.

This is one train ride Marjo and I will never forget.

This is one train ride Marjo and I will never forget.

The real name of "the Wizard" of Christchurch's Catherdral Square is Ian Brackenburg Channell.

The real name of "the Wizard" of Christchurch's Catherdral Square is Ian Brackenburg Channell.

The famous "Wizard" of Christchurch gives daily dissertations about politics and religion.

The famous "Wizard" of Christchurch gives daily dissertations about politics and religion.

It's hard to look sophisticated when you have do-do on your head.

It's hard to look sophisticated when you have do-do on your head.

The Christchurch Tramway.

The Christchurch Tramway.

That weird thing floating in the air isn't photoshop, it's a mid-air "sculpture" suspended by invisible lines.

That weird thing floating in the air isn't photoshop, it's a mid-air "sculpture" suspended by invisible lines.

Everyone was walking around as if there wasn't some strange contraption suspended in mid air.

Everyone was walking around as if there wasn't some strange contraption suspended in mid air.

Christchurch is indeed a magical place.

Christchurch is indeed a magical place.

A romantic gondola ride down the Avon River.

A romantic gondola ride down the Avon River.

This statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott looks cold.  Scott wrote: "Do not regret this journey, which shows Englishmen can endure hardships, help one another and meet death with as great fortitude as ever in the past."

This statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott looks cold. Scott wrote: "Do not regret this journey, which shows Englishmen can endure hardships, help one another and meet death with as great fortitude as ever in the past."