Just after leaving Death’s Corner, the clouds parted and gave way to beautiful blue skies, just in time to reveal numerous snow-capped mountains. We pulled off into a lay-by to take some pictures and have lunch, while enjoying the views we did not expect when we left rainy Christchurch.
The rest of the drive down to the coast was just one Kodak moment after another and we made several stops just to admire the scenery. At Kumara Junction, we turned South and made our way to Hokitika. There we made a planned detour to visit the Hokitika Gorge. This is a delightful, easy walk - that is, in fact easy - and leads to a small but very picturesque gorge on the Hokitika River. There is a small - but exciting! - suspension bridge across the gorge and, once across, it is possible to reach the river. The gorge is particularly attractive for not only its impressive cliffs and rocks, but also the incredible blue-green water of the river. Having been blessed with great afternoon weather, we were treated to the full beauty of this lovely spot.
The rest of the drive down to Franz Josef Glacier was beautiful, with magnificent mountains on one side, frequent glimpses of the ocean on the other, and occasional views of Mt Cook in the distance, drawing ever closer.
We arrived in FJG right on our planned time and checked in to the Rainforest Resort. We booked a studio apartment and the one we have been assigned is brilliant. We are surrounded by rainforest and, even though we are in the middle of a large resort/camping complex, we are very secluded. We are going to enjoy our next four nights here!
Dinner was easy, as we had brought a prepared meal from Christchurch, so we settled in and prepared for tomorrow’s adventures.