Woke up to gray, had a cold breakfast, and got on the road as it started to rain. Our first stop was the visitor center in Haast. Not only did we get a map and restrooms, they had a very good exhibit on the area. It included information on whitebait, which appears to be a local delicacy of juvenile fish (minnows) that are cooked in batter or eggs, and eaten whole. We chose to pass. We also learned about phosphorus in the soil – like in areas with heavy rainfall the phosphorus can leach out and forests can’t grow because they don’t have this crucial element. Unfortunately, it was raining somewhat harder when we left the visitor center. (We’re not quite certain how much phosphorus was in the runoff.)
For those who think we are strictly fairweather hikers, we put on our rain gear and took a walk through an estuary, in the rain (but not in the cold). It was a nice walk, with few photo opportunities since our cameras are not waterproofed. We learned a little about the local vegetation, and also that some of our raingear was deficient.
Drove on down to the end of the road in Jackson Bay, declined to take the walk there in the rain and fog, but we did have lunch at the Craypot there. Food was so-so, but it was good to dry out a little. The toilets were across the road and up the hill – near some blooming hydrangeas.
We drove on up to Ship Creek, and the sun came out!! So we took the Dune Lake Walk, one of 2 interpretive walks there. It included a walk on the beach. Although the sun was out, it was drizzling slightly at the start so we looked for a rainbow, and finally found it—against the hillside! Probably the lowest I’ve ever seen a rainbow. Along the trail we found other natural wonders—ferns, local trees, etc. The surf crashing on the beach was frajabulous.
It was getting to be time to find a place to stay, and tonight we want internet and laundry so that means a holiday park. But we made one last stop at Knight’s Point, where there was a fantastic viewpoint of the surf crashing on rocks, while the sun came under the clouds to reflect off the ocean.
So tonight we are staying at Fox Glacier Holiday Park, and tomorrow we hope the weather allows us to see the glacier! Funny that we came 10,000 miles to see ice and snow.