So, next stop Franz Josef glacier on the West coast. Our sadness at leaving a great spot was soon diminished by some of the most unspoiled, glorious landscapes that any of us have ever seen. We drove past many large lakes - such blue water - surrounded by mountains. We stopped several times just to enjoy the views.
|one of the many lakes...|
We stopped to see the pancake rocks and Adrian took some great photos of the waves crashing in. The pancake rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki are something to see. For the more adventurous sort there are great treks through and around the park.
Most of the land is owned by the Department of Conservation so is untouched. We commented that this is just how God made it! The beautiful and wild Tasman Sea was on our left and wild jungle and rainforest on the right as we drove up the coast.
|west coast, NZ|
Have I told you about CarCam? Well I like to take pictures out the window of the car - it drives Adrian crazy! Probably part of the reason I enjoy it so much! AND some of the photos even turn out - I figure it is digital so who cares how many trash ones you take there might be a gem among them. So he drives and I shoot, Grace reads and Abigail talks, sleeps and/or vomits. That is pretty much how it goes... We were going through all the pictures one night this week and Adrian said, "I am not sure I realized just how prolific car cam had been." Well, we all know that what he meant in Tennessee speak - Good Lord woman! You took a lot of pictures! We are culling through them slowly but surely. We sent some off to be printed on canvas - they turned out nicely. We are filling the bare walls with them and it is a really affordable way of doing just that.
|glaciers with low cloud overlay by car cam!|
Back to the trip - We stayed in a cabin in Franz Josef and spent the afternoons at the spa pools - warm, relaxing and fun! We had a nice meal and relaxed in our cabin. There were lots of helicopters coming and going. We decided to forego that adventure for Abigail's sake (no amount of dramamine worked in Queenstown).
We continued on to cape Foulwind at Westport with more spectacular views and a wonderful spot to stay just down the road from the lighthouse. We went on a tramp to the seal colony and saw weka birds living wild in the park. The weka is a flightless bird that is very feisty and curious. The girls loved seeing them up close!
We had a meal at the town pub and met the barefooted proprietor and several of the townsfolk. Friendly!!! Our hosts were lovely and very accommodating - the Steeples Cottage was a really super place with beautiful gardens.
|Grace and Abigail checking out the beach at Westport Seal Colony|
Fortified with dramamine that was swallowed! rather than chewed! off we go to Nelson for our final stop before heading home. Along the way we came upon the longest swing bridge in NZ. Of course we had to stop and check it out. Are you aware that I am horribly and irrationally afraid of heights, bridges, things that are in the air that I can see through... This met all the criteria of inducing great fear and sweaty palms. As I type this my heart rate is up and I am starting to sweat - irrational I know but don't we all have something that evokes that response?!? Surely this bridge would not collapse just as my family reached the center - surely if the children could do it, I could too. So I screwed up my courage and off we went - Abigail stayed close enough to check on me but not too close to be able to hear by moaning and groaning. I am typing so you know that it did not collapse, I did not die of fright and I can claim that I DID IT! And I did it twice - you have to get back to the car park, right?? There was a hike on the other side and we had a fun time!
|crossing the swing bridge|
On we go to Nelson where we walked on the beach, picked up shells, had a nice meal at an English pub in a renovated horse barn. We visited the Hoglund gallery in Richmond and commemorated our trip with a pair of birds and a vase. (They are on the windowsill above the sink in the kitchen and the sun shines in so nicely and casts colorful prisms on the tile - a treat every day!) We met Marie and had a nice chat with her. They move to Australia in the winter because the tourist activity diminishes in NZ. They have a gallery and studio there too.
|walking on the beach in Nelson|
Back to the ferry and home again, home again, jiggetty jog.
The South Island of NZ is spectacular with its mountains, glaciers, beaches, the wild Tasman Sea, rain forests, the beautiful people. We conquered fears, learned to swallow dramamine, learned to tolerate CarCam, laughed and cried and made some really special memories. We were so blessed with great weather and safe travels. What a glorious two weeks, thanks for coming along...
|the ferry coming in to pick us up in Picton|