by sam on 14th April 2017 1 comment
One of about 25 single lane bridges today
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Haast pass to the West Coast
There us one road from Wanaka and the centre of the South Island over to the West Coast. Where we were about 10 days ago at Mount Cook is only a few miles away but its a 2-3 drive as the southern Alps has absolutely no road access across it so you either need to go south to the Haast Pass or north to Arthurs pass.
Either way these are beautiful mountain/ valley roads with lots of single lane bridges, lots of waterfalls and fairly slow moving traffic on the steep hills. Our route took us over the Haast past which goes from Wanaka to the West Coast, we ended up in Glacier Country at Fox Glacier where our campsite cabin is.
The weather is utterly dire, its been tipping down for the last 24hrs and up still continuing and by crossing over to the west side of this mountain range brings us into rainforest, so its hard to know what is rainforest weather (they get 5100mm of rain/year at ground level in Fox compared to 650mm annually in London ) and whats the end of this Cyclone Cook.
We stopped at a few stops on the way, the first was the Blue Pools, about a 30 minute round trip to see a pool...that was bright blue! Well actually there were quite green due to the overcast sky refracting the light differently but they were super clear. There was also a huge rock bank/beach area (there are rocks absolutely everywhere in the South Island, honestly youve never seen so many!) that had literally hundreds of little rocks towers on. It was quite a sight, you couldnt count them, but the rocks are nice flat ones for building the towers and also skimming so girls and boys were both happy, while I photo-d! After a while the sand flies started to nibble too much on us, they like water areas and nip really sharply, more so than mossies!
Our next find was the Fantail Falls, a really short 5 minute walk to some very delicate water falls, in the shape of a fan. There was also a smaller rock bank area with a few towers built, but less so than the blue pools. After that we came across the Thunder Creek Falls, another 5 minute walk. These were much heavier and louder, (aptly named then!)
After the Haast pass finished we came onto the west coast road and stopped at the Ship Creek beach area where we had read they sometimes had Fiordland crested Penguins. It was a long shot as the weather was so rubbish and it was mid afternoon, but there was a tall wooden shed on legs- type lookout that you climbed using a normal metal ladder screwed on. The surf was really rough but there were great views from the top. Coming into the beach from the rainforest was a dark tea coloured river with black swans swimming on it, it was an odd mix where the river met the sea.
The beach was covered in drift wood, had some weird sea-smoothed rocks, and had a boardwalk area amongst the dunes. It was still tipping it down and blowing a gale, but they humoured me for a bit especially when we spotted a pod of dolphins just off the shore!
Our cabin at Fox glacier was described as quirky.... Estate agent speak for doesnt flow very well!?! The kids had a triple bunk which they fought over but in reality nome of them had enough head room and they all kept disturbing each other, so Adam moved from the top bunk into our bed, but otherwise it was ok- not our favourite but not the worst, and the campsite facilities were good.
Blue pool with swing ridge over
Thunder Creek Falls
Beach of Rock towers at the Blue Pools
Cabin at the Glaciers
Love the pics of the Weird rock and the little rock towers :-))