The Beginning of The EndJuly 11 in New Zealand
Today we woke with our cosy van situated on beautiful Lake Mapourika, 10 minutes north of Franz Josef Glacier township. We ate our Nutri Grain, drank coffee and mosied on down to the waters edge in the drizzling rain. We said good morning to some other campers who’d been fishing with what seemed like no luck, packed up our van and hit the road with James, Jess and Hudsy on our tail. We cruised the 10 minutes back into town for a nice coffee and a bit of wifi so we could upload our blog posts from the last couple of days.
From there we once again hit the road going north, continuing up the west coast. We drove for a good hour before turning off down a little side road that supposedly led to some natural hot springs. But as the the road turned to dirt, then loose gravel, then simply just large pot holes filled with water, our hope of relaxing in some delightful hot pools quickly diminished. Soon the road came to a complete dead end save for a small walking trail teat led on. I jumped out of the van and went to investigate, only to be greeted by large rocks and a rushing river instead of the supposed soft sand and warm gentle stream. Clearly the last few days of rain have had a huge impact on New Zealand’s rivers. So with the hot springs crossed off our list but not achieved, we tracked back along the goat trail and back onto the main road. We pointed our noses at the small gold mining town of Ross.
Ross was supposedly the largest gold mining town on the West Coast. We spent a little bit of time here, admiring the very well kept miners cottage and tiny old gaol. Something they do very well over he is maintain so much of their history. There were hundreds of old photographs, instruments and things of just day to day living from back then. It really takes you back to that time when you can walk into an entire cottage fitted out as it would have been back then Complete with an old stove, a dining room and even annelid piano. Quite amazing. We explored the history of the town a little before pressing on the a much larger town, Hokitika.
Hokitika is one of the larger towns on the west coast. We stopped here for lunch and explored the many different shops on offer. IN particular they had a fantastic glass blowing shop where you could watch the glass benders creating their world of art. It was so mesmerising to watch the piping hot, glowing glass turn into something incredible in their hands. Jo confessed to frequently watching youtube clips on glass blowing, turns out she's got a hidden admiration for the art. We could have stood there and watched them all day, but we had to keep moving. We stopped in at a large jade shop where once again you could watch the masons carve the beautiful green stones into incredible works of art. We admired an incredible 1.5 tonne, $200,000 jade lounge before heading out of town, stopping to pump and dump as we went.
From there we continue our journey north and then west toward Arthurs Pass. With Jo at the helm I was completely free to admire the amazing scenery as we started heading up into Arthur's Pass. As we drove the mountains seemed to close in on us as the valley got tighter. The road got steeper and the temperature got lower as we climbed ever higher up into the snow capped mountains. We drove along sheer cliffs with waterfalls going over our heads. The gorge below us roared with the recent rainfall converging as it found it's way down he mountain.
We pulled into a small lookout that looked back down the gorge we'd just climbed. It was beautiful but here we also found the infamous Kea birds, the parrots of the mountain. These birds were pretty large parrot looking birds with sharp curved beaks. They are renowned for nibbling on the rubber tires of cars and sure enough as soon as we pulled up they were looking for their next fix of rubber. Our tires thankfully were not on the menu as one bird instead opted for the rubber seal on our van door before being chases away. We chatted to a friendly local for a while before heading on through Arthur's Pass. We arrived at our final freedom campsite 15 minutes later and set up camp as the rain set in. The weather forecast says fresh snow through the night so we're hoping we'll be waking to a winter wonderland tomorrow but we'll see what happens.
It was burritos for our final dinner in the vans tonight followed by a quick trip back into reception to upload our blogs and catch up on the daily instagram feed ☺️
We're sad to be saying goodbye to our Wilderness motorhomes tomorrow afternoon. It's been an incredible experience and the best way to see as much of the sights as possible. We highly recommend Wilderness to anyone planning a road trip around New Zealand, they've been a treat! We just wish we had longer! 😩
Looking forward to catching up with Luke & Nay for the coming weekend though. I'm sure they've got lots more to show us.Read more