Sunday, January 9, 2011
The wet west
Hello, hello from Monday afternoon! In an attempt to avoid the hideous task of packing, I am feeling a post coming on. Imagine that... Today we're going to do one of the longer drives on the South Island trip, but don't worry -- it might take 4 or 5 hours, but have some good snacks and we'll see hundreds and hundreds of waterfalls and pass through the Southern Alps. Ready? I'd suggest a raincoat.
We're leaving the fruit orchards and endless stretches of grapevines of Central Otago for the wild, crazy, windy west coast with its crashing waves, crazy ass rock formations, rainforests, and glaciers. And much more. Don't let me limit the west coast's possibilities with my tired mind's small vocabulary. First we have to get there though and that means traversing the South Island on SH 6, through Haast Pass and on to the glaciers. The road was only made from a path into a gravel road in 1966 and was fully sealed in 1995. No more cherry trees for a while...
It got really damp. This area is dense beech forest and receives a ton of rain so the waterfalls were everywhere -- seriously. Hundreds of them everywhere.
Most of the photos from this leg of the journey were taken from inside the car as the skies gushed forth with torrents of rain all day long and there weren't many places to stop anyway. But I thought you might enjoy seeing all of the rainfalls that fell directly onto the road, from right next to my car window.
We did stop to see the Fantail Falls in Mt Aspiring National Park. And got thoroughly soaked, but what can you do.
And also the Roaring Billie Falls. We can't pass up the short walks! If it's less than 1/2 hour we feel like it's just too easy to miss.
Finally made it over to Haast and found this spot for some nice hot soup and bread and a dry table and chairs.
Enjoyed waiting out the gale that blew through, rattling the roof, by reading their bulletin board. And then...Trey got worms. Oh dear.
Obviously we were in need of a change of scenery and as is often the case in New Zealand, we quickly got it as we turned north and headed up the coast. At the first sign of accessible beach, we stopped and found that it must be a stopping point for many who pass through. There were signs of other visitors and their thoughts stacked all over the beach.
We liked this last one as Dennis's Uncle Jim from Detroit passed away very unexpectedly and much too young a few years ago. We hope he found a place as beautiful as New Zealand!
Next up is a day and a night in Fox Glacier another hour or two north of here (here has no name, by the way, so we must simply call it "here"). I'll post about that tomorrow after I pack a few more boxes and need a break.
Here's a terrible shot of a bra fence to go along with Te Pahu's toothbrush fence for y'all. Don't say I never gave you anything.
Cheers everyone. Kia Kaha!