Friday, 24 February 2017

The west coast

Not much has happened between Nelson and queenstown, but that is just what we wanted. Driving, taking in amazing scenery, stopping at every viewpoint, scenic falls, or town with a pokegym has been pretty wonderful.

After Nelson we spent a night at the edge of the Abel Tasman trail, and then had a nice run along it, saying good morning to all the people who were rucksacked up to the point they were clearly planning to be out there for days. Pretty coves, secluded campsites, and little streams meant our run turned into a jog and then turned into a walk to take some photos. We covered about 7 miles.

Our next stop was a long way south, between punekaiki and greymouth, one being a beautiful coastal area, with walks to the pancake rocks, and the other being a more industrial town, the highlight of which was a petrol station.

It rained pretty much constantly on the full day we were there, so we stayed in, and only ventured out to go on a local walk to a spectacular waterfall. It was pouring as we left, but dried out quite quickly.

On our way south the next day, we visited Franz Josef glacier, and hiked towards it (it has receded so far that a helicopter is the only way to get up close properly) and that evening we stayed at fox glacier. It was Valentine's Day, so we had a romantic enchilada at the local pub.

Next on the list was fox glacier itself, again, so far up the mountain now that people with helicopters are the ones making some serious money out of the place. We did another longish walk to get to the main view point, a walk which included some steep climbing for about half a mile, which also included the "no stopping" sign due to the risk of rockfalls.

The accommodation was either crazily expensive, or fully booked (or beds in dorms) so we found ourselves in Haast for the next two nights, a lovely remote town, with a pub and not much else. We ate there on the first night, and had a massive lunch at Jackson Bay, the most remote place in New Zealand (apparently) the next day.

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