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Published: January 28th 2016
Been a great last few days, far too busy to blog.. Set off to Lake Teakapo a good 4 hour drive. Met some people on New Years Eve whose mother was the lay preacher at the church of the Good Shepherd, very famous in NZ, so had to go. Anna the tour guide remembered his mother and him very well, and was touched that we had made the effort. Drove up Mount John to the observatory, a very steep, nearly vertical climb in the car, giving 360 degrees View. On the top was the Astro cafe, great views, coffee ok. That evening went into the Tekapo hot pools and chatted an age to this kiwi couple who were touring round. In Tekapo itself a lot of development and building is underway. There is a huge japanese/Asian tourist influx, so went to the Japanese restaurant and had a great meal of salmon Don. Tekapo is famous for its night sky with the Stars and observatories, the tours were starting at midnight, so decided just to stay up and see the night skies. Rather cloudy, and ended up having a real laugh with a Malaysian tour party. Just ask me
about it!!! Skies really clear when I got up in the night, many, many stars.
Next morning, blue skies and decided to get the gas bbq out and cook an omelette on the top of Mount John with magnificent views of Mount Cook and the mountain range. Then drove to Mount Cook an hour away, had pre booked a couple of weeks ago to kayak around the icebergs. Tramped to the Tasman glacier and to the jetty, not good news off the guides as strong winds predicted the next day. True enough woke to a howl, so the kayaking was cancelled. Set off to Wanaka. On the way on the plateau was a massive lavender farm, and salmon farm. Bought a full side of salmon for around £11..
Stayed at Wanaka for 4 nights. A very chilled, laid back, hippy/musician holiday resort. Had a great feel to it. Played golf there, hilly, great views of the lake, and managed not to lose a ball.. Went walking with the Wanaka walkers one day, did a 10k hike round the lake and had a picnic lunch at a tramping hut. Another day walked to Rippon winery and again great views,
and free tasting.. Bought a couple of bottles. A Riesling and a Pinot noir 2012. Got my hair cut kiwi style, the barbers is nothing like Bardney, these are very trendy, a different culture. Did a laundry, and cleaned the car. The last night went to a Japanese restaurant that had been recommended. A small cafe type place, shoes had to be taken off..ordered noodles and you had to dunk them in a bowl of soup, only using chopsticks..
Now in Franz Josef on the West Coast. Took another good 4 hour drive over/through mountain passes, spectacular views. The insect/bird noise is so loud you can hear it through the car noise. Stopped off at the blue pools near Haast, and a 20 minute walk over a couple of swing bridges brings you to these impressive blue waters, so clear and deep. The blue is glacier water. Franz Josef is a lively place. Full of trampers and cyclists. These guys pedal with their packs up steep hills, and I would say there is quite a percentage that is my age.. Staying at the Glow worm backpackers. Has its own hot tub, and just the same as a motel. People
very friendly. Walked a good 40 minute walk alongside the river, which is now raging, there is a lot of low cloud so it must be chucking it down on the tops..then started climbing up to this natural tunnel which has glow worms in it. We had boots on, but you had to paddle through the water in the cave/tunnel, which is very low and narrow. Had to use the mobile flashlight. The walk was quite steep near the top, and muddy, but fun. Meeting people as they were walking down, kept saying you're going to get wet... This is free and takes you straight back to nature.
There has been a lot of rain on the top of the mountain, but mizzly in the valley, the rivers and waterfalls are full, and with the heat of the land and the cold water creates a steamy mist over the rivers. Very Jurassic.. Found a great pub, opposite the helicopter pads for the glacier landings. Sat for a few hours there with our own fire pit watching the Melbourne Open and chilling out.
Today walked to the Franz Josef glacier, but the footpath was closed due to flooding. Still
impressive sight where we could walk to. Years ago Sue had actually done the glacier walk with guides and ice picks, this unfortunately doesn't happen as the glacier is now deemed unstable. Hopped in the car and drove to the Fox glacier 20k away. What an experience. It takes around half an hour to walk up to the viewing area, crossing water that could be raging rivers in a short time if the weather turned. This is more inspiring as you could get alot closer to the glacier. Health and safety is becoming more apparent now as a couple of walkers got killed by an ice fall, and only the other month a helicopter crashed killing all onboard into a glacier. Very humbling. There had been a glacier ice fall as there was big Boulder size ice in the river. I hope the photos can show this.
6k away is Lake Matheson, famous for its mirror reflection image of Mt Cook. Unfortunately low cloud, but still a great little walk over another swing bridge, and the waters a copper brown colour - beautiful.
Now back at the pub, sat outside with our own roaring fire pit writing the
blog. It has been really noisy with the helicopters doing their tours, brilliant to hear with such frequency. Looked at walking on the glacier, the only way now is via the helicopter, at 450 dollars each, it is expensive for 20 minutes.
Leave here tomorrow heading for the Abel Tasman at the top of the South Island, an 8 hour drive. Will prob stop over halfway at Westport, then have got accommodation next to the Abel walking tracks till the 6 Feb. Its meant to be paradise there, an opportunity to kayak with the seals, some great walks, got free cycles and the aim is to recharge and chill out.
Apparently where we are heading internet is limited, will be in touch as and when.
Chat soon x
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