Day 4 - Coast to Cold

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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Fox Glacier
February 23rd 2018
Published: February 25th 2018
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We had a good day yesterday, weather-wise. It was therefore reasonable to assume, we concluded, that the New Zealand summer would get itself back on track, now that the cyclonic disturbances of the past week were history. You can imagine our surprise, then , at the immediate resumption of rain the moment we started our engines. Once again hoping that it would be a localised shower, we pressed on with the planned detour off the direct route, which was a side trip to Arthur’s Pass. And on this occasion it worked out – a nice ride into the mountains, broken cloud, twisty roads and some great scenery. Hanging a left at Greymouth, we went through the town of Moana, for those of you with small children and / or Disney movie addictions, on to Arthur’s Pass, throw a Uey and back to the coast at Kumara.

Along the way, we encountered a café doing its best to capitalise on the Lord of the Rings films, albeit that its fifteen years since the first film was released. An outsize Gollum swarmed over the roof of the hotel and Gandalf and a mini Smaug conveniently provided a photo opportunity spot, right next to the pig pen (everyone farms something out here).

Back out to the coast and down towards Hokitika for lunch and a look at the Jade shops. The South Island really didn’t offer much to the Mauris, since sources of food were scarce, but they did value the Jade, which would be found near gold reserves that didn’t interest them. Pam declared the designs “a bit hippyish” and turned her nose up, which was fine by me. Onwards to the Franz Josef Glacier and then finally Fox Glacier, to our overnight stop, a niceish motel. Dinner was fair, at a tourist centre ten minutes out of town.

Around the dinner table, we have the full complement of travellers in our group, which include an Israeli couple now living in Silicon Valley and working in the industry that makes that place tick. Having abandoned their children to Granny’s tender care for the first time, they suffer from separation anxiety for the first few days but are now well over it. Also a first has been motorcycling in the rain – not something that Californians do, but they have coped admirably. Disconcertingly, they don’t seem to drink alcohol, but are quite normal in every other respect. Come to think of it, nobody else on the tour drinks anything like Pam and I frequently find myself apologising for her habit. I even sometimes imagine I can hear gasps of astonishment as I reach for a third bottle of beer. These people need some training down the GKs, I feel.

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