Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Zealand Trip Day 7 - Post by Stuart


January 17th 500ks in 10 hours

17th January 2013-01-17 Hokitika to Queenstown. It was the longest driving day today, about 480ks but it took us about 10 hours. We left Hokitika around 8am and headed south along the coast, it was looking a little cloudy after raining all night so I wasn’t expecting the scenery to be as good as I hoped. Lonely Planet had rated the drive from Hokitika to Haast as one of the top ten drives on earth, so I was really looking forward to it. It wasn’t long before we got into some mountains, these mountains over here are like nothing I’ve seen before and they really make you feel a little embarrassed about calling our humble termite mounds mountains at all.
We called into the Fanz Joseph Glazier on the way past, the weather was poor so we just went on a short walk. I have to tell you the cliffs either side of this glazier are amazing, photo’s just don’t do it justice.
About 30ks down the road was the Fox Glazier, we pulled up and jumped out off the car into an icy 10C gale, we quickly found a few jumpers and headed up the valley on what looked like a easy enough walk from the car park..........that soon changed.
After almost doing a lung we got to the general unguided viewing area, took some pics while we regained some breath and cruised back down to the car park. Back on the road we headed further south to Haast, fuelled up for NZ$2.52/ltr....mother of god fuel is dear here. We found a nice pub and grabbed a typical pub feed for lunch, I think we’d earned it after the glazier walk. A quick look in the car park made me a little envious, I’ve said it about 500 times since I got here but I give you my word I will make it back here with a bike one day.
The weather got much worse as we began to drive east into the mountains, I was bitterly disappointed as I’d really been looking forward to seeing the Haast Pass with the snow capped mountains either side, we grabbed a few pics but really nothing to write home about.
As we came out the eastern side the rain cleared up and the views were just postcard images everywhere you looked, I just can’t write words that do the scenery here justice so I’ll just post a few picks of the first and second lakes we came across. The mountains either side of these lakes make anything I’ve seen before look like ant hills, they are huge, rugged, rocky snow capped monsters.
We took the crown valley into Queenstown, there were a number of signs telling us the road was open, I was wondering what they were on about, it’s the middle of summer. Now this road was awesome, twisty smooth flowing corners gradually climbing higher and higher, then at the peak you are greeted with a sharp descending switchback to the bottom, beautiful stuff.
After getting lost in Queenstown, what a rat race, rabbit warren this place is, we found our room. I quickly headed out and walked 50mtrs down the lawn out the front of the room to snap a couple of pics. I like this one the most, this little house is surrounded by multi story resorts and million dollar houses.
Well it’s about 9.30pm here, I still can’t get used to this twilight, you could play a round of golf outside and not worry about losing a ball but all the same I’m shagged and after a few icy cold CC’s and a great feed I’m ready to hit the hay. Can’t wait to see what Jodi has me jumping off tomorrow.

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