Monday, May 05, 2003

Wednesday 09 Apr 03


If you really wanted or needed to get away from pretty much everyone on the planet, you couldn't go past the west coast between Jackson Bay and the glaciers for quiet and isolated. Evil masterminds should be flocking there to build their secret lairs. There is next to nothing here save spectacular landscape and more places for tramping and fishing.

Tuesday 08 Apr 03


Martin, Ruth & the kids had been staying in the YHA around the corner & they came around in the morning to say hi & swap travel stories. The kids found the playground and the short hello turned into a 'watch me jump' 'it's MY turn' trampoline-fest. Once we were packed up it was time to get on the road for the west coast...

On the way out of town we stopped off at the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum so I could pick up some mil-porn and info on the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow for Tyson. We also passed through Hawea which is, obviously, next to Lake Hawea. Lake Hawea is the clearest, stillest lake I've ever seen. I don't think you'd need a fishing rod because the water's clear enough that you could just watch the fish from the boat & reach in and grab 'em.

Stopped in Makarora for lunch. Makarora is a tiny place (pop. 40) that I think only exists to service travellers. There's the tea rooms for food & petrol, a jetboat operator, a small airstrip for aerial sightseeing and the DOC visitors centre that supports trampers with weather updates, maps and other local info.

From there we had to drive through the silver beech forests of the Haast Pass to get from Central Otago to the west coast. There're a couple of places you can stop on the way; we stopped at Fantail Creek Falls & found a trickle of a river and a riverbed covered in piles of rocks stacked up by all of the visitors. Some were just flat riverbed rocks on top of other flat riverbed rocks but others were elaborate castles with towers, turrets and archways.

The first place you come to on the west coast is Haast. Like Makarora, Haast is a small place that's got some jetboating, walking and whitebait, but isn't much more than a 300-person convenience stop. The first things I noticed about the west coast was the smell of the sea and the sandflies. We didn't stop in Haast except to get a phone card. We drove down one of the few straight roads on the west coast to Jackson Bay (the fishing town at the end of the road - of which I have nothing to say.) and pulled off the road for the night. This person calls it 'the end of the world' which is about right. Some very different perspectives of Jackson Bay can be found here and here.

Monday 07 Apr 03


It's amazing how fast your body clock changes when you don't have to be up at any particular time. You're either up really early or can sleep in late - today I was up early courtesy of the cows that decided to get vocal next to the van around 5.30am. Headed into back into town for breakfast at one of the local cafes - Kai Whaka Pai - hugest breakfasts!

Spent the day on a four-hour return tramp through farmland up the Rob Roy track to look at the Rob Roy glacier.

When we returned to town we checked into a caravan park for the night so that we could have hot showers & do some laundry.

Posted by Dean @ 5/05/2003 10:44:00 pm

...Survey says...


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