Day 11: Roys Peak Track
Arriving in Wanaka, we’re unsure what activities we would do until we hit the tourism board and checked the attractions nearby. We found two interesting hike, Roys Peak Track and Rob Roys Glacier. I wonder why they’re both have Roys named on, probably he’s an important person in this area before? Well..We decided to do Roys Peak first.
|Resting in between before summit|
Roys Peak track is not my kind of track. Don’t get me wrong, the view is absolutely amazing. One side you’ll see Mt. Aspiring Ranges surrounding the lake, on the other side, a green mixed with gold-ish land is alluringly visible from up there. It’s not a difficult track, it’s just the track was a bit boring for me, gently sloping up like walking on a body of snake. I had a hard time finishing this 11 kms track, still, it’s enjoyable enough.
Day 12: Rob Roy Glacier
Getting to the starting point for Rob Roy Glacier itself was an adventure, or even a struggle for us because we had to drive through 30 kms of gravel road with our car. Big car or off-road car won’t have problems with this road, but mini-medium car and campervan have to be strong enough to face this road condition. There are about 7 fords, like small river stream to pass through. It’s passable as well for mini cars, be careful with unseen rocks.
Trekking in Rob Roy Glacier was the opposite experience from Roys Peak. I was captivated with the beauty of the landscape. Making our way following the river stream with blue to white water, passing hanging bridges, and natural setting of the forest reminds me of the forest where Alice was lost in wonderland. Pretty yet tiny yellow flowers spread along the bushes. The track was enthralling, combination of ups and downs, turns and flat.
Glaciers draw off snow that accumulates in the basins, takes about a year to convert loose snow into hard glacial ice. Rob Roy Glacier once filled in the valley and flowed into the great Matukituki Glacier which combined with Wanaka Glacier. Even though the glaciers start retreating due to the warm climate, Rob Roy still has about 100 glaciers.
There was this magic moment that I felt, when the ice melting, it creates a tiny waterfall from the peak, where the wind blows onto it and they break apart dancing in the sky. To the end of the track, I couldn’t believe what I’ve seen, huge hanging ice covering the peak.
Makarora Campsite ($13pp)
Not so big campsite, good for few vans and small area for tent site under a big tree. Small kitchen but the advantage here was spacious bathroom. I think it’s my best shower here.
Day 13: Driving on the West Coast.
Time to head up to West Cost! They said it’s the wettest area in New Zealand, receiving more than 10,000 mm rainfall in a year! Taking our time on wheels passing through Haast Pass, there’s nothing much we can do despite many stops we could make. Dark clouds rumbling, mist covering the density of the rain forest. The weather was really disappointing, no matter how long we stay, the forecast showed no good sign.
Show must go on, first stop was Blue Pool and we had a blast! Regardless shitty weather, the pool was in perfect blue. If the light was too much probably the pool looked whiter. A nice short walk but only we’re distracted by sandflies, the rest was beautiful. Some people even dare to jump in that cold water with no sun, they’re insane!
Just a short distance from Blue Pools, we stopped at Fantail Falls. There are many waterfalls around this area but we chose only the one with good review, or cause it’s a short walk. Fantail Waterfall is not so tall, less attractive but good enough. Then we did the taller one, Thunder Creek Falls. You know what its named that way 🙂
Offers campsite and rooms to rent. Very lovely and friendly owner. Next to Lake Paringa, you can do kayaking when the weather is nice. The only downside is they have only one bathroom to share, but their common room and kitchen is spacious, nice to hang out with other travelers. Many sandflies.
Day 14: Fox Glacier
No sign of weather improvement. We continued our journey to Fox Glacier. Nestled in Westland Tai Poutini National Park, tucked in the dense canopy of trees, it is somehow interesting, and rare to see thick jungle like this remembering how majority of New Zealand’s land has turned to home for sheep and cattle. Walking in Fox Glacier track takes about an hour return passing the river bed and a steep ascending at last part of climbing. The glaciers which were previously snaking down the mountain has slowly disappeared, little of the glaciers remain.
Further up from Fox Glacier there is another popular glacier named Franz Josef. Unfortunately we cancelled Franz Josef because of the rain. It has similar feature with Fox Glacier. To get a closer look of the glacier, tour operates taking you to the glacier by helicopter and next you can walk on it.
A country-style hotel with open area for camping next to it. Free shower, small kitchen, stable wi-fi at the lobby.
Day 15: Hokitika
Did nothing much again. The main reason for us to come to Hokitika was the glowworm. Glowworm is an insect larvae that glow through bioluminescence. Actually the best place to see glowworm in New Zealand is at Waitomo Caves on the North Island. However, the price is out of our range, so while there’s a free one, we just did it.
|Glowworm Dell, photo by catperku|
There are two glowworm dells in Hokitika, one near the city and the other one is next to the pub where we stayed. After sunset, we stepped into a small hole. No one else inside. The room was dark, not too big, I think it fits enough for 10 people only. As we focused on the wall, there we saw the lights, the glowworms that turns to stars, how beautiful. Turn off your camera, cellphone and just enjoy for a moment.
Woodstock Hotel (5pp)
An old tavern, very cheap but no facility. Right next to the glowworm dell. Camping not allowed so we slept in the car, although some people set up tents. Good that we slept in the car cause it’s raining cats and dogs, mosquitoes and sandflies!
Day 16: Picton
Due to the bad weather we decided to skip all the cities along the way such as Greymouth, Punaikaki, Westpac, and Abel Tasman, instead we drove straight to Picton to take the ferry to North Island. We were two days earlier than the initial schedule for the crossing. Not many good campsites on the way so we drove 5 hours straight to a decent campsite, 45 minutes before Picton. I felt unwell on that day so Vivi had to drive by herself, sorry and thank you!
Lovely campground! Welcomed by homemade muffin. Good shower and kitchen facility, access to glowworm dell and waterfall. $1 for 250mb wifi. The owner gave us treats to feed the animals.
Day 17: Picton – Wellington
Crossing from Picton to Wellington. What a nice ferry! It looks more like a cruise, or a shopping mall, or a hotel, whatever. There are several sections for food, one looks like a cafetaria, another one looks like bar. The wi-fi on board was hardly accessible during that time. Three hours left till we reach North Island!
Traveled in 27 December 2016-26 January 2017
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