Looking southwest from Paraparaumu Beach




Karapiro to Picton

Picton to Woodend


Christchurch to Ashburton

Ashburton to Fairlie

Fairlie to Awamoko

Awamoko to Middlemarch

Middlemarch to Clyde

Clyde to Invercargill

Invercargill to Bluff

Bluff to Te Anau

Te Anau to Arrowtown

Arrowtown to Wanaka (Twice)

Wanaka to MacKenzie Country

MacKenzie Country and Twizel

Twizel to Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier to Hokitika

Hokitika to Reefton via Karamea

Reefton to Twizel

Twizel to Takaka

Takaka to Picton

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Fox Glacier to Hokitika - 15/03/2012 to 17/03/2012

Never rely on Jim Hickey for the weather forecast, bring back Karen. “It rained and it rained” just as the poem read, we were beginning to display all the classic symptoms of Cabin Fever:
Boredom - looking up inane things on Wikipedia, like the definition of
Cabin Fever – a reaction when a person is shut in a small space, with nothing to do, for an extended period.
Paranoia - I am convinced the bus is full of sandflies and they are constantly attacking me.
Irrational frustration with everyday objects - why won’t the needle move on the solar panel charge meter?

Wikipedia recommended, as therapy, to go outside and interact with nature. So off we went to the Fox Glacier township, stepped outside for 1 minute, then went inside the nearest café. Yahoo, cabin fever with calories and more annoying people to get irritated with. After sitting in the bus interneting for several hours in a 60 minute parking slot (no parking wardens in sight), we headed to Franz Josef to see if the weather was any better over there. It wasn’t, so we did more café dwelling and decided to park at the NZMCA site on the edge of town.

Imagine a beautiful NZ rainforest full of native trees and ferns, birds singing, and insects humming and feeding from the flowers. Got the scene in your head, now add the words to a Joni Mitchell song, “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot”. Yes, the NZMCA have clear felled an acre of beautiful bush, put hard standing down, placed rubbish bins and a waste station in the middle, and installed a metal gate with warning signs, great!

For the greenies it is total destruction, for us it is actually wonderful. Solid ground to park on, within walking distance of the pub, water and waste disposal on our back door step, security, scenic vista of the mountains and bush, as well as loads of happy travellers. If you are an NZMCA member do come here, they are still recording your average spend in the village to justify it; bugger the greenies for once, it is only an acre of unproductive land and if we don’t use it John Key will probably sell it to open-cast miners.

On to brighter topics, Friday morning the weather was perfect for Glacier viewing so we hiked the 1½ hour return track to Franz Josef Glacier and then went back over the hill to do the 1 hour return track to Fox Glacier. Although we have both been here before, one of us several times, we keep coming back to visit these glacial wonders. You can’t get near them and they are a dirty sight with all the gravel on top, but each time we visit we read a bit more about their formation and marvel at their existence.

No visit to Fox Glacier would be complete without the obligatory 1½ hour walk around Lake Matheson. On a nice day you can photograph the reflection of Mt Cook in the still waters. Unfortunately for us a cloud went over the mountain and a breeze rippled the waters so, no longer playing the patient tourist, we passed on the photo opportunity today. We did however find some cool blue mushrooms (entoloma hochstetteri).

After another night at our 'Paved Paradise Parking Lot' in Franz Josef we headed off on Saturday morning to Hokitika.nzmca franz josef A small detour took us to the quaint seaside village of Okarito. Making the most of the extremely good weather, no clouds, no wind, no rain, we carried on looking at as much countryside as we could, even finding a few geocaches. We saw lots of lovely seaside places and lakes with casual campsites before settling at Pukekura for lunch at the Bushman Centre.

The Bushman Café is owned and staffed single handedly by an Englishwoman, with a great sense of humour, she doesn’t answer questions and copes by having notices everywhere. There was no suitable coffee for Roger to review; a flat white was described as an Englishman run over by a truck. Aucklanders are subject to a surcharge and don’t even ask her about the weather, "It's the West Coast, it is rain forest, it rains, if you want sun go to the Sahara, if you are English then you will feel at home". The menu consists of road-kill toasties, bunny and bambi burgers, and the special of the day was yesterday’s leftovers. We sampled the possum pie, but because they can’t sell possum meat, it was free, except for the $4.00 donation to the 'Ban 1080' campaign.

Arriving in Hokitika we checked out the NZMCA site and then went into town to collect Roger’s Christmas present, a gourmet pizza from Fat Pipi’s Pizza, but that is another story for another day. One salmon pizza and one whitebait pizza later it's time to call it a day.

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NZMCA park in Franz JosefNZMCA park in Franz Josef
Fox GlacierFox Glacier
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