Relaxing, and enjoying a barbecue in Wanaka
We have just travelled up the west coast of New Zealand! Avis took us to Queensland where Wayne picked us up and took us on to Wanaka where we went straight to a barbecue at the campsite where Val and John (our hosts for the evening) were staying. We had a most enjoyable evening and reluctantly departed to find our B&B for the night. We spent a very comfortable night at Collinson's Cottage in Wanaka and were thoroughly spoilt by our hosts, Brian and Susanne.
The next day, Wayne, Raewyn, David and I drove up over the Haast Pass to Fox Galcier (see photo of David and Wayne by a waterfall up high in the pass). On the way, we stopped at the Salmon Farm for lunch. We had a delicious bowl of Salmon Chowder, served with a home-made bread. This sustained us as we continued on to view the glacier.
It is interesting to note that this glacier, together with the Frans Josef Glacier, has the distinction of being one of the few glaciers to end among lush, temperate rain forest, only 300 metres above sea level. We drove on from there to the town of Frans Josef where we were booked into the Glacier Gateway Motel.
That evening we walked from the hotel into Frans Josef, across the Waiho River. This is a very small town – population 320 – although swelled to many times that by the tourists visiting the glacier!
The Fox Glacier
The Franz Josef Glacier
David and Wayne were up early the next day as they had planned to run to the glacier and back before breakfast – an 8km round trip! Raewyn and I waited until after breakfast, when we all drove to the glacier car park for a much shorter walk to view the glacier. Everywhere we looked the vegetation was amazingly prolific and such wonderful shades of green – although maybe it is not so amazing when you know that the annual rainfall is 5 – 6 METRES per annum.
We said goodbye to the glacier and drove down the coast to the pancake rocks at Punakaiki. The pancake rocks are a curious limestone formation in which the layers of rocks look like piles of pancakes. In the rocks are blowholes, through which water spurts high into the air when there is a heavy surf. No one knows why the rocks developed in that way and it is thought they are quite unique.
That evening we stayed at The Great Beach House at Tauranga Bay, a B&B owned by Michael and Yvonne (see photo left). The setting is stunning. Their house is on a promontory between two beaches and the view from both sides is spectacular! Michael and Yvonne were excellent hosts and if it weren't for the fact we had to be in Blenheim by Friday, we would have been tempted to stay – although I am sure they have guests lined up for the rest of the year! We were delighted to have a sitting room for our own use, complete with baby grand piano, a library, beautiful paintings to browse and a balcony overlooking the sea. Only a few steps away from their house is the Bay House Restaurant which serves gourmet meals. After dining in style there, we walked to the seal colony and watched the mothers with their babies, while the 'Beach Master' stood sentinel nearby. Breakfast the next morning was a delight and Michael's home-baked bread was the crowning achievement. (We also loved Michael's t-shirt!).
The view of Cape Foul Wind
The view of Nine Mile Beach
The stunning view from Michael and Yvonne's outdoor 'Cocktail Lounge'.