Imagine if you will, a windswept coastline on your left, and towering mountains on your right.
Because we had to, as for the past day its been chucking it down and blowing a gale and we can’t actually see any of the views.
To fill you in on events since our last posting. We saw the stars! At lake pukaki after the sun went down, the stars came out. It was glorious. We have now properly the seen the southern cross.
|James swimming at Wanaka|
From the lake shore we ventured over to the west coast and stopped at Fox Glacier. Take a look at a map and you will see that this is quite a long drive, so we stopped (in glorious sunshine) at Wanaka for lunch where James got to swim in the Lake. Under what he thought was mount Aspiring but apparently wasn’t. Then another moochy afternoon along the Haast pass stopping at various cool sights on the way. Including the blue pools (which are transparent) and Thunder Creek falls. The afternoon was made slightly less moochy because of the landslip under the main state highway which reduced it to one shared lane, and the road was closed from 6pm. The traffic control was a very theatrical young man with a pole.
Fox Glacier is quite a place. After arriving quite late we were fortunate to have a non raining day to spend on a guided tour of the glacier. It is one of the few glaciers in the world where you can just walk up to it. In just 20 minutes from the car park! It’s a fascinating place. There were rock falls happening on the valley constantly while we were on the glacier. And it is only in the last week that the glacier has retreated to a point where the guides can take you straight up the front of it, rather than walking alongside then dropping down. They took us into ice caves, down crevasses and stood us next to really big scary holes. A fantastic day out.
And the day was long from over! We fitted in a trip to Lake Matheson which is a famous beauty spot. The Lake reflects Mount Cook and Mount Tasman perfectly in the water. On the three days of the year when it is both still and clear. And after this (and a lovely three course meal) we went on a free glow worm walk. This is a beautifully surreal experience. Tiny dots of light all through the forest.
|There's a glacier there somewhere...|
Today we have set off up the west coast, and have arrived at Punakaiki where there are some famous pancake rocks which we hope to see after tea time. It has been belting with rain all the way up here. We decided it would be a good idea to walk out to Franz Josef Glacier as we were passing. It was beyond wet. The DOC were just closing the path out as it was getting dangerous. Here is the one photo we managed to snap before racing back. We haven’t checked yet whether there is or isn’t a glacier showing. Also the very handy drying room on our van is broken so our trip to the rocks tonight could be quite soggy.
Once again don’t when we’ll post this as we have neither wifi or mobile signal!
…. And is taken so here’s an update. We made it to the pancakes rocks which are yet again another unique New Zealand experience. Several blow holes in strangely shaped and layered rocks which blast ocean water into the air. We went again at the next high tide the following morning and they were in even more spectacular form, throwing spray over the viewing areas. Then from nothing a freezing cold shower driven by extreme wind blew in making a mockery of our decision to wear jeans. We legged it for the van to dry off, then had very tasty pancakes in the local café. Pancakes at Pancake Rocks. Who would have thought.
The rest of the day went like this. We drove to a seal colony then we drove to Westport to get the heater fixed (it wasn’t) and had baked potatoes and a magnum then we drove inland to the old ghost road and then we had dinner in a sand fly infested camp ground then we drove along a beautiful but tiring river gorge road to lake Rotoroa where we camped for the night.
And now we are at Abel Tasman. This is like being not just in a different country but in a different part of the planet. IT IS SO HOT. And sunny. And no rain. And the beaches are amazing. We’ve already done a bit of a bike ride at the nearby town of Motueka and swum in the sea here at Marahau. We are here for a couple of days at least. Lets see what turns up!
|Underneath the Fox Glacier|
|Sandy Bay, Abel Tasman|