Going back on my word, already…
You might remember (if you’re a regular here) that I recently said ‘I can’t help feeling like everybody needs to calm down with all the hype about New Zealand’. Well, now I’m starting to think I spoke too soon.
Day 149 – Wednesday 19th October 2016
The alarm went off at 08:00 this morning and Abbie meant to hit snooze but hit cancel by mistake. It wasn’t until 08:35 that we realised and even then it was still raining, but instead of letting the weather get the better of us we just ignored it and carried on as planned.
Our first stop of the day was the Pancake Rocks in Paparoa National Park:
The Pancake Rocks, which took about thirty million years to appear how they do today, are appropriately named because they look like a stack of pancakes.
We carried on driving for about four hours from there as far as Hokitika where first we stopped for lunch on the beach, before heading for the Hokitika Gorge:
Although we initially planned on spending the night in Hokitika we had time on our hands so carried on heading south as far as Otto Corner Campsite. Situated right on top of Lake Manpourika, with its own private beach in fact, this place was really something special. It was early enough that I convinced myself to go for a swim too:
As you may have guessed, the water was absolutely freezing!
We spent the rest of the evening back in the van, eating dinner and playing cards. I have only one complaint so far, and that’s the sand flies – I know so many people who’ve been to New Zealand and nobody has ever mentioned how irritating they are! Thanks for the heads up guys.
Day 150 – Thursday 20th October 2016
We treated ourselves to a lay in this morning after getting so much of the driving out of the way yesterday, so didn’t actually get on the road until nearly midday.
We didn’t have to drive for very long before reaching at the Franz Josef Glacier car park, where we swapped our flip flops for our shoes and started walking. The path to the glacier, a 4.3km route which took nearly an hour to walk, had us crossing streams and jumping stepping stones all the way to the Franz Josef Viewpoint, just 750m away from the glacier itself:
Our plan was to visit the Fox Glacier after the Franz Josef Glacier, but we scrapped that idea after doing some research and finding that Fox Glacier is actually the smaller of the two, and somewhat underwhelming in comparison. Instead we took to the road again and travelled as far as a tiny little town called Haast where we stopped for the night at Haast Motor Lodge.
We desperately needed to find a supermarket so that we could stock up on supplies again but there wasn’t a single store for over 160km. Haast actually happened to be experiencing a milk drought, which us with only one option – the pub!
We had a nice dinner with a jug of beer to share, then walked back to the van and noticed the empty TV room on site. Instead of going straight to bed we stayed up watching women’s international netball on our own before being joined by a couple of extremely drunk Australian men who ended up falling asleep on the sofa next to us, fully clothed with beers in hand! That, my friends, is how stereotypes happen.