Saturday, January 01, 2011

To Franz Josef and Greymouth

The most driving we did in one day was from Te Anau to Franz Joseph. It was a long drive, around 8 and a bit hours but we took longer as we stopped for small walks but it was all worth it. What was striking was the scenery and how it changed as we drove from the crown ranges in Wanaka to the ever luscious forests of the west coast. From bright blue skies and rolling hills of gold and green to grey skies, punga covered mountain sides and ferns, ferns that covered the sides of hills that the highway meandered through which looked like a huge gathering of kea feathers. As we approached towards Haast, entering into the west coast region, the hills, mountains were dotted with waterfalls of every size. This is due to the amount of rainfall the west coast receives, rather famously. I never anticipated for such a dramatic change in scenery and it was all too lovely to capture. Here is a map of our drive that day, from Te Anau to Franz Joseph. It follows the teal blue lakes, infamous in the central Otago region and surrounding areas to the mountainous ranges that releases us into the wild West Coast region.


lake hawea, another nap?!
A lookout point at Lake Hawea, just past Wanaka serves as a nice resting spot for Mr.

On our way through the mountains to Haast, we stopped at the Blue Pools.
I have to give NZ props for their easily accessible beautiful sights that allows tourists and locals alike to get to wonderful spots like the Blue Pools via their neatly groomed walkways that are kept immaculate. I did the whole of South Island in my birkenstocks, not ideal but it could be done. The sights are free for all to see, most not far from the highway and required 15 mins walk with native flora signage.

blue pool, on our way to franz josef
The blue pools, they were indeed blue.

A grand waterfall, still on our way to Haast.

We got to Franz Joseph quite late, at around 9pm and had dinner and checked into our motel. That night, it poured and poured, relentlessly. It never ceased and when we woke up, we checked out only to be told that there had been massive flooding. We had planned a three hour tour guided hike to see the glaciers. I was so very excited to go on this hike but we later found out that all tours had been canceled due to the over flooding and we would not be able to cross the river that we needed to get to the glacier. So I was terribly saddened by this but oh well, it'll leave us another thing to explore when we come back!!

So instead, we slowly drove up to Greymouth which is not that far away from Franz Joseph.
We stopped at Hokitika, whose beaches, lashed with strong winds and gloomy horizons reminded me of the Oregon coast.
Except, that coast rushes to shore so hard that it creates all this foam:



green stone
The black sands of Hokitika beach is littered with green stones aka Maori Jade.

aaron naps, at hokitika
Aaron snoozes in Hokitika.

1 comment:

thisgoodhearth said...

Just awesome scenery and vivid colours of nature! I am happy that you got to see so much of NZ this time around. Aaron looks worn out at the end:)