New Zealand 2006 travel blog

Hello everyone,

Well the British weather has caught us up....... raining every day, colder and strong winds most of the time. So we really feel at home!!!!!

The trip from Abel Tasman area to Westpost was interesting and a long day. Many long long hills to negotiate and free wheel down the other side. Some lorries tried to overtake us but we shook them off with true Brit spirit. Scenery, when we could see it was brilliant though. From Westport we headed north along the coast for 75 miles to a place called Karamea.... the last township (well small sleepy village) on the north west coast. We visited some spectacular limestone caves deep into the native bush ( hour of unmade roads up and down hills we thought would never end ---- neither did the brakes as they got extremely hot) NZ extinct Moa bird lived in this area and bones were found all through the cave. We couild only go in with a guide....very good trip and welll worth the effort and long drive.

We returned via a coal minning area called Dennistone where there was the remains the famous Denistone incline. This was almost 45degrees of hillside from sea level to high up into the mountains where coal trains trucks were brought down on a pully system - the full one going down the incline and 'pulling' the empty one back up. Hundreds a day, must have been a fantastic site ---- we saw an old movie film of the operation in action.... really impressive what these Victorian got up to.

South from Westport we visited a Seal colony before reaching Punakaiki famous for its 'Pancake rock" formations and blow holes right on the coast. Although the weather was bad and vv wet the sea was n't too rough as wind in wromg direction, so the blow holes were only half blowing! But still very impressive.

Then onto Greymouth and a quick trip/visit the local brewery - Monteiths - just to remind ourselves how real beer is made and tasted.

Now at Franz Joseph glacier. Weather although rain has eased, clouds are v low and a lot of mist about, so no helicopter flights for the last 4 - 5 days. However we always optistic that later on this afternoon all will clear up and we'll get our flight. Yesterday we visited a White heron nesting colony - the only one in NZ (and I think Australasia) Went by JETBOAT to the lagoon on the river Waitangitaona - that was great fun. Herons and their baby chicks v good and easy to see from the bird hide.

Today waiting on Helicopter and tomorrow, weather permitting a day guided walk up onto the glacier.

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