Day 13 – Fox Glazier to Westport

Friday, Jan 29, 2016

Happy Birthday Cheryl!

Fox Glazier to Westport

We got up very early in order to get to Lake Matheson and take sunrise pictures. We arrived at the lake by 6:20 am, 15 minutes before sunrise, however, there was no sunrise. It was a drizzly, overcast, foggy day. However we were able to get several nice pictures of the trees and vegetation around the lake with their reflection on the water.

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We stopped for breakfast at the fancy cafe located at the entrance to Lake Matheson and I had a latte and a breakfast, bacon & egg pie. I was quite impressed at the design in the latte.

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We returned to camp, completed some chores, packed up our camper van and left Fox Glazier for some unknown destination in the north. We retraced our drive on the hairpin turns through the mountains past Franz Joseph Glazier and continued north.

We drove to Ross, where I had been asked to drop off a gift. We arrived at noon, had lunch and then drove to the shop of Steve Maintland, where I presented him with a Terry Fox T-Shirt that Les Potapczyk had given me. Steve is a superb athlete as well as a Jade carver.

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He informed us about Jade and how it is polished and the fact that most store-bought jade is sprayed with lacquer, synthetic (i.e. plastic ) or synthetically enhanced to make it shiny and green. He showed showed us how some tricks to tell whether a stone is fake, although he has found some plastic imitations that are excellent replicas. We bought these 2 stones from him before we left to continue our journey.

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We drove to Hokitika and stopped there to book our ferry ride to the north island. We soon found out that there was a famous bike rally there this weekend called the ” Woodstock Motorcycle Rally ” because bikers were showing up from everywhere.

We had a short walk along the beach where they were having a contest to see who could create the best or funniest design with the driftwood on shore. There were definitely some unique designs.

We decided to continue our trek north and had wonderful views of the coastline along the way.

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When we arrived in Punakaiki, we stopped to view the ” Pancake Rocks “.

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One section was quite fascinating. Can you see the characters in the rocks?

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We left Panakaiki and continued north until we arrived in Westport at 9 pm. We secured a camp site and quickly drove to Cape Foulwind to see if we could capture the sunset, but it was too cloudy to see a nice sunset, however, we saw a local bird called the Weka before it got too dark to see anything.

Day 12 – Haast to Franz Josef Glazier

Thursday, Jan 28, 2016

Haast to Franz Josef

It had been a comfortable 12 C ( 56 F) overnight. We had cereal for breakfast, before starting the drive to the Franz Josef Glazier.

As we drove along the highway, it quickly became obvious that we were in a rainforest. We stopped at Ship Creek lookout to do the Kahikatea Swamp Forest Walk. We weren’t sure whether we wanted to do the walk, but afterwards, we were very glad that we did. The first thing I saw was these black swans.

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As I continued, I walked into a different world.

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The large trees are called Kahikatea by the Maori and they grow to 55 meters ( 180 ft ) height and 1 meter ( 3 ft ) in diameter, although they have known to be 80 meters ( 250 ft ) tall and 2 meters ( 6 ft ) in diameter. Because the wood of these trees is clean, light-weight and doesn’t impart an odour, it was used to make boxes for exporting butter.

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On my way out of the forest, I noticed this bird, drying his wings on the far bank of the river that flowed out to the Tasman Sea.

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One of the things that is different here is that there are a few different traffic signs than we don’t have. Because they have a lot of one-lane bridges, they had to come up with a way to direct traffic over them.

This sign means that you have the right of way unless someone is already entering or on the bridge.

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And this sign means that you do not have the right of way across the bridge and you have to yield to oncoming traffic.

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We continued our drive until we came to Fox Glazier. We hiked up to the glazier and I took a picture of Cheryl in front of it.

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We then drove into town and stopped at a cafe for some planing while we had a delicious lunch of potato and leek soup and a small plate of a few large, thick fries with aioli sauce.

We then went to the Top 10 Holiday Park nearby and secured a campsite. This is by far the nicest park we have been to yet. The lady there also suggested that I become a Top 10 member for $49 ( for 2 years ) because it would give me 10% off at all Top 10 parks, free internet, 10% off for fuel, 10% off of the $280 ferry ride to the North Island that we would be taking next week, as well as other savings in New Zealand and Australia. I wish this had been offered to me at the first Top 10 I stopped at. I could have saved a lot of money.

After we set up the tent, we drove to Franz Josef Glazier. I took a picture of the glazier from the parking lot.

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and then we hiked to ” Peters Pool ” to take a picture of its reflection in the pool.

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I hiked further while Cheryl was still taking pictures at the pool and I found these large ferns. I’m planning on taking the picture back home to set beside my ferns at home to inspire them to grow larger.

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When I returned to where Cheryl had been taking the pictures, but she was gone, so I hiked up to the glazier, thinking that she had gone there as well.

I took these pictures of the glazier, the surrounding area.

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When I returned from my hike, which took a little more than an hour, I found Cheryl in the parking lot. She had gone on a different trail. We compared our pictures and just before we got up to leave, she mentioned that she had found a camera. She was showing me the camera and asked me what she should do with it when a man, who had just driven into the parking lot, came over and asked us if we had found the camera. He looked very concerned. Cheryl explained that she had found it on the ground in the parking lot and had tried to check the pictures on it but it was damaged. He said that it was his camera and it had fallen out of his wife’s coat pocket and that he had returned to the parking lot in the hope that he could find it. He said that they have been in New Zealand for 3 weeks and all of the their pictures were on it. I suggested that he take the memory card and have the pictures copied to another card before he loses them again. He wanted to take a picture of us on the camera but he soon realized that the camera didn’t work. Cheryl and I felt that it was meant for us to compare our pictures so that he would find us there and get his camera back.

We had another full day and we returned to our campsite at Fox Glazier, had a light salad, and completed some tasks including some plans for the next day.