We started off from Wanaka with gorgeous clear skies. Since we hadn’t been down to the lake yesterday, we stopped off at the lake’s edge a couple of times for piccies. The boats on the little harbour looked very pretty.
We had to stop for WiFi to transfer some money – amazing how fast you go through it!! – and fuel the car for the long drive to Fox Glacier.
The last time I came along here, we had really poor weather with waterfalls all the way onto roads etc. This time, the weather along the Haast Pass was beautiful! This meant that I could finally see all the beautiful locations along the way.
First up was Lake Hawea. A bird was sunning itself on a little island outcropping at one location. Lake Hawea is rather big! It was very hazy this morning though, so I didn’t take many pictures.
It’s also right next to Lake Wanaka, on the other side of the road. It wasn’t nearly so hazy, and the views from Lake Wanaka Lookout were spectacular.
We stopped in Makarora for a quick break before tackling the Haast Pass. There was a yellow plane taking off across the road. In the second shot you can see the notice about the delays on the road because of a landslide. The slide actually killed a couple in their campervan when it came down. It’s still being cleaned up and the road is closed at night and single lane when it’s open.
The first stop after Makarora was at the Blue Pools. It’s a lovely walk through rainforest. It smelt really good here! The pools were really blue, too. You would never mistake this place for untamed wilderness with all the cairns people had built on the riverbed.
Next stop was at Fantail Falls, which also had quite a few cairns built, and people climbing all around the falls.
After this was the actual landslide side (no photo) and then the Gates of Haast with its steel bridge. Single lane as so many others along here. I clambered down a rough path near the bridge (since you’re not allowed to walk on the bridge) to get photos of the gorge.
Thunder Falls were after this. They were not terribly thunderous, but that’s because it wasn’t raining.
Just past this, we stopped for our lunch. The turkish bread rolls we’d bought yesterday were hard as rocks, but still tasted good. Our lunch was just very chewy!! And the blood-sucking flies were a real nuisance here (as well as for the stops on the west coast later today).
We stopped for a quick look at the confluence of the Landsborough and Haast Rivers.
Next stop was on the west coast, just past the Haast Bridge. It’s a really long, single lane bridge. Worth photographing, of course. It’s across a river right near the ocean.
After this we stopped at Ship Creek. There’s a nice wooden walkway over the sand dunes down to the beach. Very nice. There’s an amazing array of driftwood on the beaches here on the west coast!
Last picture stop today was at Knights Point with the rocky little islands just off the coast stretched along a couple of kilometres of beach.
I was pretty tired from the long drive by now, but it was only another hour or so to Fox Glacier where we were staying. We checked in about 5pm and had a coffee and I updated my blog with the two previous days’ entries before heading out to dinner.
I had the venison bangers and mash, which were really nice while my sister had the calamari and chips. I ordered a Monteith’s Original Ale to share, but it was a really dark ale – very much like a Guiness, which I enjoyed but my sister didn’t. So she had to drive, for the first time since we arrived. It wasn’t very far to the motel though…Yay for being up-to-date!