Westland , September 5th
Our road to the Glaciers begins at Westport. At some point there, we remembered what an old kiwi man told us some days ago:
“..-Westport? Hahaha There isn't much to do there, well, it rains. It rains a lot. Actually; that's the only thing it does…”
So there we were, under the rain, deciding which would be our next stop before getting to the Glaciers. We noticed that the South was definitely much more deserted than the North ; for instance you could see on the road some signs advertising that there won’t be any fuel for 150 Km. The temperature is much lower and the landscape wilder. Some roads and towns seemed to be governed by ghosts.
There is something fascinating about the west coast. Some kind of wild freedom and purity.
We took a short detour at Punakaiki to see something called “pancake rocks” and “blowholes” :
It turned out to be a heavily eroded limestone area where the sea bursts through several vertical holes that, during hide tides, eject the water with a strong pressure. It really feels as if it were whales breathing.
It’s a show watching that scenery surrounded by those magnificent rocks.
On our way to the glaciers we noticed that the nights were much more colder. We had to boil some water inside our van more than once before going to sleep to get warmer. Nights were tough but it was defintely worth it just to look at the stars with so much clarity right above us when we stepped out of the van.
Finally we got to the Fox Glacier, a 13Km glacier fed by four alpine glaciers.
The reality is once you are in front of such a ginormous landscape, you feel small, actually as if you were getting smaller up top the point when you're about to disappear. You start wondering how much history has been buried under the ice during years and centuries... It is breath-taking.
We spent the night at Haast, a ghost-town situated on the way to Wanaka. We drank some beers at the town tavern while warming up by the fire and surrounded by stuffed deer heads which had their hunter names under them.
We must confess that we love to get drunk at “random” taverns and discover incredible characters.
So after being 24hours with no service and counting less than 10 cars on a 140km drive, we arrived at Wanaka. Wanaka is a beautiful town situated at the southern end of Lake Wanaka. It was not the typical town that we were used to go through while we were on the road (Those in which city center is normally built around the motorway, and surrounded by big fat food places such as McDonalds, KFC or Subway, actually most of them are copies) and that's because it is a popular ski and summer resort.
The reflection from the snowed mountains on the lake is hypnotic , and that incredible ‘picture’ keeps repeating along the West Cost, while crossing clear lakes and more mountains.
It ended up being a sunny and relaxing afternoon walking around the lake before hitting the road to Queenstown.
Another incredible road that one. Another example of the incredible magic of nature.
Another confession is that we were a bit nervous about getting up the next day at Queenstown, and that was because we were told by a friend that we could not miss “one of the best burgers in the world!” It was at a really well known place called Fergburger. We both asked for the biggest burger in the menu (also with fries and onion rings !!) IT WAS DEFINITELY WORTH IT (THAT burger still hasn't left our thoughts)
And there we were: fatter and happier, hitting the road again towards Dunedin.
That night we got stuck in the mud next to some lake. We were under 0ºC, so you can imagine it wasn't the most confortable one. Still, again, it was all worth it due to the precious star curtain above us.
The next morning we found an old man that rescued us with his home-bus!
On our way to Dunedin we first stopped at Kaka Point to see if we could surf and hike to one of the older lighthouses in New Zealand. The weirdest thing happened there, we were on the road after a short session of surf getting to the lighthouse when an enormous sea lion appeared in the middle of the Road.
NZ is definitely a country where anything can happen at any time!
We said goodbye to the lazy animal and Sara, Max and Dora hit the road towards Tekapo!