We arrived around midnight at a campsite located at an old Railway station stop on the side of the highway. It was packed with campervans and tents but we plopped down on a patch of grass under a full moon. When we woke in the morning we discovered literally hundreds of gnats swarming around us and Adi: it was disgusting and we've never moved out of a campsite so quickly!! We drove away with the windows down to flush out the gnats and stopped about an hour later for breakfast beside the Iron Bridge overlooking the Buller Gorge. I was picking wild blackberries above a waterfall when I somehow slipped and turned my ankle: I was litterally standing one second and then on my hands and knees the next. Although initially I was terrified I'd sprained it, it seemed alright so we jumped back in the car and pushed onwards to Westport, a larger South Island town on the coast.
It should be noted that the South Island towns are SIGNIFICANTLY smaller than North Island ones. There are only 800,000 people living on the whole of the South Island and only 4 million people populating New Zealand all together. So a "large" town on the South Island consists of a few cross streets along a main road with one gas station, library, and grocery chain.
We plunked down in the Westport library to use their free internet and skype with our respective mothers. We ended up needing a good five hours to sit and catch up on our lives and in that time my ankle swelled up and I hobbled down to Subway to steal a bag of ice. Mike and I managed to get yelled at twice in that library (My mom: "Who the hell was that dick?!" Love you mommy) before pushing out of town with new groceries.
As we drove, our exhausted spirits were suddenly lifted as we turned a corner to be greeted with The West Coast and these beautiful waves crashing against the shore. We were driving along the coast in Paparoa National Park and we were in paradise. It was very similar to driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in California but we were in New Zealand and that makes absolutely everything better.