Blogs from West Coast, South Island, New Zealand, Oceania

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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast February 12th 2022

In the Waimakariri Basin there is a scattering of hundreds of weathered limestone rocks. These ancient rocks are smooth, sculpted, spectacular, and sometimes a little bit creepy. Named by Ngai Tahu Kura Tāwhiti, or "treasure from afar", it's also an area of cultural and spiritual significance. The limestone rocks were formed from years of sediment compression and then shaped by erosion following a large uplifting event. As Patrick & Jacinda took to the trail the scenery was spectacular and got even better when they reached the top. There were very few people around but when Jacinda was in the photo either on her hands or her feet you could really appreciate the magnitude of the rocks. The area was also a location for the movie “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast » Fox Glacier April 27th 2021

As we had hoped when we headed for bed last night, this morning has dawned with clear skies overhead making the chances of getting reflections of the mountains in Lake Mathieson a reality. Together with the clear skies at this time of the year, you also get a frost….of course! We needed to make a quick getaway for the lake about 6km away so that we made sure we were around the lake before any breeze on the water happened to spoil the hopeful reflections. There was thought of the use of the ‘good ole credit card on the frosted windscreen trick ‘but this method can give problems in the use of the credit card in the future so we opted for a trickle of water and the wipers in slow motion and hey presto the ... read more
Mountains in the frame at Lake Mathieson
Light mist swirls on Lake Mathieson
Yesterdays rain oozing out of the undergrowth

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast » Fox Glacier April 26th 2021

As we expected late yesterday afternoon when we arrived in Fox Glacier, the weather today was not going to offer much in the way of opportunities for outdoor activities. And so it turned out to be. As light came up outside out motel unit, we had, what would turn out to be a last look at the surrounding mountains before they disappeared behind the mists of rain that persisted all day. It was cold outside, probably no more than 3C, and there was what looked like fresh snow on the hills visible before the rain really closed in. Fortunately the heater in the unit was very efficient and after the brief wander outside we were able to get back into the warmth of the unit quickly. It was to be an indoor day with the only ... read more
The mountains of the Southern Alps before they disappeared in the rain that set in,Fox Glacier
The snow at the lower level had fallen through the night,Fox Glacier

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast » Fox Glacier April 25th 2021

It is ANZAC Day and back home we would have already been to and arrived home from the Dawn Service, had we been at home! Instead we have woken at 7am in the Hokitika Seafront Hotel with our first decision to be made for the day to be what time should we go down for breakfast. The 48 seater coach that had disgorged the over 60’s on their tour was still in the car park which meant that probably the passengers were in the restaurant having their breakfast. It was a simple decision to therefore not be too quick to get down to the restaurant to let the place empty out. By the time we had showered and readied ourselves and set off from our first floor room we could see the bus had departed and ... read more
Alternative to walking the beachfront
Storm clouds to the north,Hokitika
The Hokitika Beachfront Hotel from the walkway

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast » Hokitika April 24th 2021

One of our travelling party is having her birthday today. Whoops that gave it all away! It seems a bit unusual to be travelling on your birthday as it is normally time to sit back, kick your shoes off and be waited on rather than being the chief pilot of the rented Toyota Corolla with a few hundred kilometres of highway and scenery ahead. One fortunate feature of being independent travellers is that you can choose the time to get up, have breakfast and get on the road rather than being in a group party and have your suitcases out at the prescribed time. After a short discussion, about our travels so far and where we w ere going, with our hosts at the Air BnB we got the car pointing south and headed for a ... read more
Gretchen on the approach to the Kawatiri rail tunnel
The tunnel is nearly 100 years old
The other end of the Kawatiri rail tunnel 185 metres away

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast February 13th 2020

On the way back to shore the Captain from our Doubtful Sound Cruise asked with interest where everyone was going next. After we all elaborated on our travel plans, he just laughed at us all and went: “Not today, you’re not!” It turned out that while we had had mainly dry weather while out on the water, the water had been pouring down on the other side of the mountains. The wind was coming from the east (instead of the more common westerly winds) and trapped the clouds on the other side. As a result, pretty much every road was closed. We could not go north, east or south, and to the west we only the sounds. We were meant to go to Queenstown that afternoon, but were forced to stay for an extra night in ... read more
Beautiful lakes everywhere
Ready to Luge
It's like going skiing, but in the summer :-)

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast April 25th 2018

For continuity's sake the title of the blog should read Abel Tasman to Milford Sound, however the rip from AT to Westport was simply a nice but uneventful day of driving and not a lot to report on...this was one of a couple of what I referred to as "hump" days where all we did was drive, again necessary due to the times/distances and the things we wanted to see...even Westport itself was really just a stopping point; not much there other than a pretty cool beach where we camped (Carters Beach) and a colony of fur seals which we managed to see...it was kind of the trail head to the West Coast track, and as it was about 6 hours of driving from Abel Tasman that was more than plenty for the day... I was ... read more
Falls at Milford Sound
Rockin' it on Franz Josef Glacier
Campsite at Milford Sound

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast April 14th 2017

After arriving in Greymouth, we picked up our new rental car and stopped for lunch. We hoped that by delaying our drive, some of the rain would move South and we'd have a more pleasant drive. It worked - for a time. Along the route to Franz Josef and the Rainforest Retreat where we would spend the evening, we stopped in Shantytown, Hokitika, and the old gold panning town of Ross. Michelle even tried her hand in driving on the left side of the road, and passed with flying colors.... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast February 14th 2017

Fri 3/2 and unfortunately the weather has not really cleared here at Franz Jospeh. I needed a rest day and Lance was driving me crazy so I sent him off on his bike with the waterproof camera and a raincoat:). The glacier valley track was open so he headed up there to take a look. Not as spectacular as he though it might and the weather conditions not favourable for photos today but the exercise brought him back with a renewed sense of life. The rest of the day was really spent reading books. Sat 4/2 and it’s raining so we head to the only laundromat at Franz Jospeh. It had only 1 working washing machine and 2 dryers. Basically the whole day was spent here gas bagging whilst everyone was waiting their turns to use ... read more
Lake Mapourika DOC Camp
Lake Mapourika
Okarito Lagoon

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast October 20th 2016

We are now working our way up the west coast having left Wanaka which was difficult as I thought it is my perfect home. It has a large lake to kayak in that is warm enough for swimming in summer, ski fields to keep me amused all winter, nice bars and restaurants and a lovely community cinema. We had a trip to the cinema before we left to watch Infetno ( ho hum even Tom Hanks can't really save this). The screen room seated about 80 and it was mostly mismatched 2 seater sofas, a few standard chairs and 2 vintage Morris cars with modified back seats - bonkers but lovely! Homemade ice cream and homemade biscuits at the intermission too which was a rather clumsy stop point. Anyway we tore ourselves away and drove up ... read more
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