South We Go

South Island Week 4 West Coast Style

This post in Francais

This week we lived it up west coast style. This amazing part of the country is boarded by the wild Tasman sea and southern Alps. We drove through fog, climbed a glacier, watched the sunset west coast style. We enjoyed the warmth, camping outside and the local west coast beer.

28th November 2011 On the road to the West Coast

Back in Wanka today, which is in the middle of the south part of the island, under the sunshine we spent the morning, doing laundry, shopping and using the internet before driving to the Wild West coast through the Hasst pass. The Hasst pass is the road that leads Wanaka to Hasst, it is very narrow with lots of waterfalls along the way. A very Kiwi thing is to have 1 lane bridges; meaning that only one car can cross the bridge at the time, this is theory is fine, except when you can not see the other side of the bridge due to fog! This is what happened to us more than once today! We travelled in the fog for KMs after KMS before we reached the glacier zone. We have decided that tomorrow we will follow a guide up the Fox glacier.

29th November 2011 Fox Glacier

We woke up and counted the sand fly bites that we had suffered last night. Sand flies are on of the things that New Zealand does not advertise. These little things bit you, hurt you while they bit you and afterwards you can help but starch and then they bleed and it sucks. Anyway, enough ranting about sand flies, today we climbed a Glacier! We went back into town and booked our glacier climb that started at lunchtime. We spent the morning just having coffee and resting.

The company we went with did their tours on the Fox glacier, for some reason it is the less visited, that is what we wanted, and all the backpackers seem to climb the Franz Josef, something to do with ‘free’ hot pools I think.

First stop the gear room, where we were given all the gear we would need to climb, leather boots and crampons. Next into the old buses that rocked up to the glacier.

Our guide, an American, explained everything to us before we set off, she was really professional. Through out the guide she showed us what to do and had tones of information to share with us. It was amazing to climb on the blue ice, understand why it was blue, and see features and craves. Maybe a change of carrer to glaicar guides, except where we want to live there our no glaciers? Have to work that out in my head a little more.

In the evening we slept near a petrol station as we needed petrol and it was closed, so we waited for it to open.

30th November 2011 Hokitika

After getting some petrol we went in search of some coffee, after not finding any cafes we made our own by a lake. We then spent the morning checking out the old gold fields in Ross, hoping to find a great big nugget, but we were not lucky and we didn’t find any.

We then drove into a nice town called Hokitika, where we went shopping for food and then to the campsite we had chosen. It was on the beach and had some farm animals on it, there we alpacas, sheep, ducks, it was fun. It had a BBQ! So we got a good steak and fired up the BBQ, something Kiwis don’t do nearly enough. We set up our tent and took pictures of our car and all the things we want to sell.

We spent the evening posting things online and slept under the stars in our tent.

1st December 2011 Greymouth

Leaving town, we were looking for things to do on the West Coast as we are well ahead of of plan, we did not find much to do. We found George scenic reserve river, which had a short walk over a glacier blue river on a swing bridge. On our way back to the car we met our old friends the Weka! Weka are birds that look a bit like chickens but with very small wings, they are scavengers and will come right up and take a bit of your sandwich if you don’t watch out. We played with them for a while, trying to see if they would climb into the car to get food, but no they are not as brave as the Kea.

In the evening we drove into Greymouth and set up our tent at a backpackers. We went on a tour of the Montheys brewery. In New Zealand, visit the brewery; they make good beer and our proud to show you how. We had dinner and the tour for 25$ a bargain, it was really good, even if we drank a little too much.

2nd December 2011 Greymouth to Westport

We left Greymouth and drove up the coast to the pancake rocks where we had lunch and looked at the rocks in the sea that had all different shapes and were fun. We then tried to go and visit a cave, named Fox cave, they like the name Fox on this side of the country, but we could not get to it because we had to cross some rivers and we did not want to get out feet wet, so we gave up.

We drove to see a seal colony near Westport and had a nice walk in the evening sun. We are almost at the top of the west coast now. We through it would take us longer but there is not that much to see. We found a nice deserted spot and slept on the beach.

3rd December 2011 Nelson

Waking up on a beach to the sunrise when there is no one around is totally amazing. You feel so relaxed and at peace with the world. No food left for breakfast we head into Westport and have pancakes for breakfast. We past by the supermarket and post office before driving on to a small spot in the middle of almost nowhere where we found a nice track of 1.5hours to do. We continued driving to Nelson, where we went to the information centre and booked our trip for the Able Tasman, we are going to going kayaking, walking and boat riding.

We found a cheap camping for the night, blogged, ate, washed clothes the usual.

4th December 2011 Nelson preparation

Written in advance as we are posting this today, so if there are some changes we will let you know. The plan is to visit Nelson in the morning, drive north to the start of the track and get ready for our next adventure. So stay tuned to south we go FM. The radio is something I will write a post about soon.

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