Greymouth to Franz Josef in the Rain!March 3 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 14 °C
Today was only supposed to be a 2 1/2 hour drive but of course it took about double the time. The downpour that we went through made things a little more difficult on the windy sections through the mountains. Signs warned us of flooding and we could see evidence of earlier ‘slips’, landslides. Waterfalls fell from the cliffs.
On December 8, 2019, we had read that nearly 1,000 tourists were stranded in Franz Josef after stormy weekend weather triggered landslides and flooding along the town's main road. Since there is only 1 road going to the town, some people opted to pay for a helicopter or plane to fly them out. I think that the biggest problem had to do wth getting supplies into the town.
Then a few weeks ago, we read this, “New Zealand's Southland region declared a state of emergency Wednesday after severe flooding forced thousands of residents to flee their homes and left hundreds of tourists stranded at the popular Milford Sound and Franz Josef tourist spots.
The South Island was bombarded with more than 1,000 mm (39 inches) of rainfall in only 60 hours, prompting landslides on major roads and causing rivers to overflow.
Earlier on Wednesday, local authorities warned residents in the low-lying towns of Gore, Mataura and Wyndham to evacuate immediately and head to higher ground as the Mataura river showed signs of bursting. Residents were told to take with them clothing, medication and identification documents. “
So, today we left Greymouth that was definitely grey and rainy and headed south where it became very rainy by lunchtime. We stopped in at a little picnic spot with shelters on on a lake and made sandwiches. But then the rain really started!
We stopped for a coffee in a lovely town called Hokitika and wished that we had stayed there rather than Greytown. I will write a separate footprint for that visit as the town was quite interesting.
A week ago, we met an interesting man from Texas in the hostel we were staying in in Wellington. He was cycling from the top of New Zealand to the bottom, about 100 km a day. I think that he called it cycle packing. Well, wouldn’t you know it, he pulled into the same sheltered area as we did and we had a nice little reunion, comparing trips. How random.
Anyways, the drive was interesting splashing through big puddles on the road, and avoiding mini waterfalls falling down the mountain side and looking at the beautiful wet countryside with many remnants of its old wooden train trestles and tracks and tropical forests.
We arrived in Franz Josef at 2:30 pm and we are spending a little time getting caught up on the footprints.Read more