Tim & Anja's New Zealand Adventure travel blog

Leaving Queenstown with some foliage

Lunch on Lake Wanaka

Notice the road sign

Anja is quite strong.......

Heading towards Haast

Driftwood on the Tasman Sea in Haast

More driftwood

Fox Glacier on a foggy and cloudy day

Tim crossing the river to get a closer look

One of the most photographed features in New Zealand- notice Mt Cook...

Franz Josef glacier

Notice the red rocks

More interesting red rocks

Tim and the power of water

The ice was BIG

Picnic lunch in Hokitika

Pancake rocks

More rocks

We continued our journey by traveling from Queenstown to the West Coast where the glaciers are (Fox and Franz Josef). We had a beautiful ride with fantastic sunny weather. We stopped along the shores of Lake Wanaka for lunch and then continued up and over the mountain range to get to Haast for our first night. We decided to camp out and save some money, but made sure to load up on insect repellent because the sandflies are brutal here. Haast is located right along the Tasman Sea and we took a walk to visit it. The beach was fantastic- so wild and with large pieces of driftwood strewn all about. We walked through a wetland to get there and enjoyed seeing some birdlife and having the area all to ourselves before the tour bus showed up with all the backpackers who wanted to make a bonfire on the beach.

Our first day of glacier viewing was rather crappy. There was nothing wrong with the ice, it's just that you couldn't tell there was this impressive mountain range right next to you. We likened it to 'another Tongariro'. The Fox glacier was pretty simple to see from where we parked, and we walked a bit closer to see the base of it, but the best viewing by far was with the Franz Josef glacier. We were able to walk right up to it as you can see in the pictures. It was pretty impressive and the day we saw it was perfect- sunny with blue skies and only a few clouds to get caught around the mountain tops We decided to head further north to see the "Pancake Rocks' in the town of Punakaika, just north of Greymouth and Hokitika (where we stopped for lunch and to make a copy of a key for Mystery Machine- we only had one key between the two of us....). The rocks were beautifully laid out and again it would have been fantastic to bring Timilty students to view some Earth History in the making. We were really impressed with how the walking area around the rocks was set up. The DOC and the tourism board did a nice job of making the views accessible and educational.

We were feeling good, so drove past our intended stopping point to continue a little further. I guess that's the nice part of having a flexible schedule! We found a hostel called Robyn's Nest, and ended up having the whole place to ourselves. Lucky us! Anja curled up with a book in the comfortable living area, and the Commonwealth Games were on in the background as we tried to understand more of the rules. Next stop is Nelson, back in the north of the South Island, where we might do some wine tasting, and enjoy the amazing beaches and warmer weather before heading back to Christchurch on Sunday for another WWoofing experience.

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