On our West Coast and Canterbury trip, David made the suggestion that we take tents and stay at (mostly DoC) camping grounds along the way. This made sense due to the far-flung places that we wished to visit (which also required some level of flexibility), as well as the fact that the book project had already used up a lot of our personal finances over the previous 18 months.
As it turns out, this was an inspired decision, as we went to as far as one can drive on the northern end of the West Coast, to Kohaihai (the westernmost point of the Heaphy Track). This stretch of coastline, bounded by a long beach, a winding river feeding out to sea, and the forest of the Heaphy Track, was one of the most beautiful places we visited on the entire journey. From a personal point of view, it was also very interesting for the large patches of the increasingly rare sand coprosma (Coprosma acerosa) that grow next to the camping site.
As we returned to the south, we made a diversion to visit the remarkable landscape of the Oparara Basin, where towering limestone arches (festooned in parts with weeping curtains of a native rata, Metrosideros colensoi) lie amongst verdant bush. Whilst I dallied on the track in the company of an attractive, white-flowering native herb that I had never seen in the wild, Jovellana repens, David had the rare experience of seeing a whio (blue duck) loitering around the margins of the river. On a note more relevant to our venture, the area north of Karamea was interesting for the continued use of old, extremely large native fenceposts, the visually striking farming method of humping-and-hollowing, and a basic yet very elegant timber fence that we both agree is one of the nicest objects not to have made it into the book.