rainforest

day 31-34 West coast part 2

I left Haast to check out the glaciers (fox and Franz). Fox ( below) was a little underwhelming. This was also receding, and you couldn't get anywhere near it without a tour. It seemed like a tourist trap, so i skipped it. The parking lot to get closer was also full, so I moved onto Fox glacier.

Fox Glacier - rainforest to glaciers

Fox Glacier - rainforest to glaciers

I opted for a top 10 holiday park to pitch my tent down in Franz Joseph Glacier. Holiday parks give you a shared kitchen, showers, water, nice bathroom, etc. It's nice to have these things when dirtbagging around :). That night I hiked around Lake Matheson at sunset. This was a photographer's playground! unfortunately some rude people staked out the whole platform for 15-20 minutes and wouldn't move.

when the sun dropped, the sky turned all sorts of amazing colors!

I waited till about 10pm to head over to the glowworm dell in Franz Joseph Glacier. These were super hard to capture with how dark it was and how reletively little light they produced.  It was also super eerie walking through this forest surrounded by glow worms. I kept getting chills down my back like a ghost or something was watching me. I B-lined it out of there after that happened!

"Arachnocampa luminosa, commonly known as New Zealand glowworm or simply glowworm, is a species of fungus gnat endemic to New Zealand. Both the larval stage and the imago are luminescent. The species is known to dwell in wet caves, grottoes and sheltered, humid places in forests. Its Māori name is titiwai, meaning "projected over water"."

 

The next day I did the Tatare tunnels hike. It was super hot and humid outside, as it is in a rainforest. (This is one of the only places in the world with a rainforest and glaciers in such close proximity.) Inside the tunnels, it was nice and cool. There was some history behind the tunnels: 

"Pioneer miners drove a 500 metre tunnel system through from the Tatare Gorge to pipe water to the Waiho terrace. While the gold recovered did not cover mining costs, Franz Josef township was established on the operation site. From 1911 the sluice pipes provided water supply for the old Graham Hotel.
The high-pressure water drove a Pelton wheel in the town and generated electricity for a sawmill during the day and lights for the town at night. In 1938 water from the Tatare Tunnels powered a small hydro station in the Tatare Gorge until it was destroyed by a slip in 1982. "
Franz Joseph

Franz Joseph

Next up I headed out to Hokitika. Hokitika was a small town, but large compared to what I've been seeing the past couple weeks! Cell service was available in towns (Vodafone SIM), but the moment you left town it went down to no service. I took advantage in towns to do all my internet usage, and texting. 

That night, I was treated to another fantastic sunset. Look at those colors!

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Right before I went to see the Hokitika Glow worms. These ones were behind a fence, and couldn't get close enough to get any shots that were worth sharing.

Right before I went to see the Hokitika Glow worms. These ones were behind a fence, and couldn't get close enough to get any shots that were worth sharing.

The next day I took a drive out to the Hokitika Gorge. Look at that water color! 

I headed out to Goldsborough Camping Area to grab a campsite. Hokitika is an old gold mining town. They also have a ton of Jade rock here. I picked up a couple of Jade necklaces-one for my sister, one for my mother. Maori Tradition has the gifter wear it for 24 hours. The different designs mean different things  If you would like to know the different meanings, visit https://www.mountainjade.co.nz/about-jade/greenstone-meanings-and-designs/ 

My campground was also a trailhead for some gold panning trails. Below was the tunnel terrace walk.

I hung out on a beach relaxing most of the day and came to this old railroad section for another great sunset.

The next day I headed up to methport, er...westport. It was a boring sleepy town, but I wanted to see the seal colony. I was disappointed that there was only about 10 seals there, and very far away, at that. Nothing like Kaikoura!

A quick stop at pancake rocks:

Seal Colony:

After checking in with my airbnb host, I asked her where to find penguins. She referred me to this spot, cape foulwind (below) I did not catch any penguins, but did get another great sunset!

That's all for now! The next posting will be the final post. I'll be going through the jaw dropping Arthur's Pass, The steampunk town of Oamaru, (where I finally spot a penguin!) and swimming with dolphins in Akaroa.

Day 26- 30 Wanaka and West Coast (part 1)

I left my campsite behind to go to a music festival on New Years eve, called Rhythm and Alps. I had a great time and discovered some great new bands! Lots of Australian and European bands played. Got to enjoy the fireworks there as well. They played music till 7am, but I am no longer 21, so I bounced at 1am.

I didn't have my big boy camera, so here was an uneditted phone photo.

I didn't have my big boy camera, so here was an uneditted phone photo.

After the show, I headed back to my campground for one last night before heading out to Wanaka. The next morning, I stopped by Queenstown Hill to do a bit of that hike, and then made the drive to Wanaka.

Queenstown Hill hike - I didn't have the energy to do the whole hike, but still was beautiful

Queenstown Hill hike - I didn't have the energy to do the whole hike, but still was beautiful

After exploring Albertstown a bit, I headed down to lake Wanaka for sunset. The sky turned all sorts of lovely colors! This tree was awefully popular, and there was about 30 people around snapping pictures of this tree!

The next day was another beautiful bluebird day. It was really dry and in the upper 70s/low 80s! I did the Mt Iron hike .I really wanted to do the Roy's Peak hike, but wasn't ready to do more than 4 mile hikes. (was 8 miles if i recall). A couple days after this, there were wildfires that broke out on the Roy's Peak hike unfortunately.

That night I hung out around camp in Albertstown. Another Stunning sunset that lit up the mountains in a pink shade (called alpenglow). While walking around, I found a dumped wallet. Everything was taken, except for his countdown card and a credit card. I figured he'd at least want some closure, so I dropped it off at the local bank before I headed out to the west coast. The bankers were thrilled, and I felt good.

The drive around the lake Hawea was both incredibly moody and jaw dropping. Some say it's the most scenic in NZ.

I stopped at the incredibly busy Blue Pools for my first stop in Mt Aspiring National Park. The water really was THAT blue! The water is glacier run off water, so as you can imagine, it was quite frigid. I did not jump in. This place also was very thick with sandflies. They really like the swimmers that come out of the water :O. As refreshing as I'm sure it was, I'm good.

I honestly don't remember the name of this hike. It was ranked as "30 minutes" so I gave it a try, figuring I'd be back in the car 30 minutes later. Well, surprise! it was extremely steep, and pretty much climbing stairs the whole way up. I was dripping in sweat, and heart beating like crazy. Not what I was expecting at all! Good views at the top, but probably not worth it.

Next stop was fantail falls. Check out all the cairns lined up!

I grabbed a campsite in Haast, and headed out to Munro Beach to see if I could find any penguins. The Hike goes through an old growth rainforest, to a secluded beach with nobody except deer, dreaded sandflies, and and

I made it to ship creek for sunset. West Coast sure has the best sunsets! This beach was right off of highway 6.

The next day I headed south to check out a really remote section of NZ - Jacksons Bay. I did a short hike, and again-had the trail and beach (at the end) to myself. After the hike, I did something extremely dumb. unlocked the trunk (with key), and tossed my keys down while I grabbed some stuff, and shut the trunk, locking my keys behind -.- Luckily I ran into a local woman who got her husband, to help me. he had a mechanic coming to visit him anyways, so we waited for him, as our efforts to break in failed. After a couple hours, his friend shows up, tries a few things that didn't work, and then we put our brains together and broke into the rental. I will not be sharing what we did, just in case the wrong person reads this.

Thats all for now! stay tuned for west coast part 2!