October 6, 2017
Awoke today to a bonus day of sunshine defying the odds.
Booked our ferry back to the north island on 10/9. We think Britz really took advantage of us when we booked when we picked up the rig in Auckland. Our trip back is $NZ 160 less which is not small change.
Lots of ess curves, changes in elevation through forested highway to Franz Joseph Glacier. The sun was out so we decided to take the hike to the glacier face about 1 ½ hours return. The glaciers in this area move much more than others in the world such that they are continually monitoring with helicopters looking for danger areas in the public area. We could see lots of striated rock along the way. Waterfalls only made the walk more special!
The drive north on SR 6 is not along the coast yet the southern alps are on the east and lovely pastureland with sheep and cattle, lagoons, streams and lakes are on the west. When the weather is nice the west coast is as beautiful as all the Kiwis say. We stopped in a small town, HariHari, to make lunch. Don’t know the population but VERY small. We pulled into a small Maori dedication spot next to the spot that Australian Guy Menzies crashed after completing the first solo trans-Tasman flight from Sydney in 1931. Heated up last night’s leftovers along with some Indian Butter Chicken noodles for Bob and Indian Teriyaki noodles for me! Very strange Top Ramen Cups that come with a little fork for $1NZ each. Not bad!
We did not stop in the next little town, Ross, where a 2.772 kg gold nugget was found in 1907. The whole area up the coast is historic gold country. At Hokitika the road skirts the water. Founded on gold, today it is known for its pounama (green stone). Several artists in town will make personalized jewelry etc. As we approached Greymouth, the largest city on the west coast, it began to rain. We are camped at the Top 10 which is quite nice and on the beach. Very nice facilities which is good given the weather.
Tonight we are having grilled (camp has a gas BBQ) hamburgers with salad. 2015 Pepperjack Shiraz from Barosa. The Kiwis love music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s so we frequently have good sing-a-long fun with the radio.
Hard to believe we have only a week left! Tomorrow we hope to go to St. Arnaud in the alps. This was the spot we bypassed (fortunately) when we had to drive through the Lewis Pass in the snow. Had we stopped then we would not have made it through as the pass closed.