A West Coast Road Trip, New Zealand

(box of fluffy ducks translation = cheerful/very good .. I heard this at work today and thought i’d enlighten you all with a new kiwi phrase!)

So Easter has come and gone, very quickly. I can hardly believe it is April. I have now been living and working in NZ for 3 months. It’s went so quick! Loving the fact that tomorrow is Wednesday .. Short weeks do make me happy.

This past weekend I completed another road trip. Everytime I do one I fall more in love with New Zealand. I went along with a Scottish guy and a Polish girl, so it was a rather European affair! On Friday we travelled from Christchurch to Hanmer springs, which everyone raves about, but to be honest .. I wasn’t that keen. It is very tourist focused with as many activities as you could think of. The amount ofΒ cars around the hot pools place was crazy. We stopped, had a wee wander and had lunch at a wee place called rustics, which is a tapas place. The food was immense! We left after this and stopped at the Maruia springs, which was ‘dead’ in comparison to Hanmer. We decided to use the hot pools .. $20 and worth it! Although it was roasting and on a hot day as it was perhaps not the most practical thing. I would imagine that on a freezing cold winter afternoon it would be great .. Particularly if there was snow on the mountains.

Got totally eaten alive by sandflies during the time in the hot pools. I was warned that they are very active on the west coast, bit as we weren’t in the west coast at that point, I wasn’t worried. Turns out, the wee blighters hang out at the springs. At one stage I had about 6 struck on my leg. This lead to a lot of itching over the weekend and a lot of bite cream. The itching is still an ongoing issue. Never again will I forget insect repellent!

We later travelled over to Westport via Murchison, where I’ve been before (near the Buller gorge and swingbridge) great views … Stopped off at a waterfall (unsure of the name) on the way.

Westport .. Again not a lot to shout about. Appeared to be a one street small town. Good pub food (in fact, an epic steak!) and semi friendly locals. We stayed at the YHA .. Which was a bit of a mission to find as it was renamed the TripInn hostel. Not a bad wee place, though it was full of a family would had pretty much booked the place out for a reunion. Some interesting people there. Including this one lady that literally looked as though she had been sat in the lazyboy chair all day watching TV. Had conversations with a couple Of guys outside. One who continually talked about how he predicted Christchurch’s earthquakes and how he had visions of seeing the cathedral falling down, as well as looking at a map if Christchurch on the computer and having the mouse hoovering over the exact spot the second quake was centred. Random indeed!

On Saturday, after a semi successful breakfast of eggs, pancakes and bacon (I am not a good egg maker!) we travelled 100k to a wee place called Karamea. We were told by a local at the hot pools that this place was amazing. It was pretty nice along the way, but when we arrived and just saw a wee supermarket and an odd shop we didn’t think much of it. Turns out that we weren’t properly on Karamea, according to someone at work who grew up there .. Karamea has much prettier beaches than the one we saw! Will maybe have to see that another time!

After spending a short time there, we made our way to Hokitika. Stopping off at Punakaiki to see the pancake rocks, which were a big of a let down (I thought they would be similar to the moerakai boulders were you could actually stand on or get close up them). Still worth a wee look.

Hokitika was grand. Stayed at a wee place called birdsong backpackers .. Which was actually pretty amazing. The guy that owned it was English and quite friendly. All the rooms were named after NZ birds. So we stayed in the Tui room. Comfy private room with our own wee kitchen area. Better than some motels I’ve been in.
Had a but of trouble with the car battery, as it started to give off smoke smelling like sulphur. A quick call out from the AA with a new battery and all was well again.

We called into the town for dinner that evening. Amazing pizza (I really must stop talking about food). We found the locals not to be as friendly here. They refused to serve us at the bar before the locals (nice!) had a wander to the beach before heading to Fox glacier on Sunday morning.

Stopped in Ross, which is a very small town. Its famous apparently for its gold panning, which is typical of the west coast. Not that excited by it.

We made it to Fox with plenty of time, being able to do back if the car lunch before our hike. The glacier hike was incredible! We spent about an hour on the ice .. I didn’t fall, although there were some near misses. I got confused with putting on the spikes on my boots. I managed to climb through an ice tunnel and fill up my water bottle with fresh glacier water. Stunning scenery. Totally in love with south Westland.

Managed to fit in a wee visit to lake matheson, on the Monday morning before going gone. This lake is one of NZ’s most photographed lakes, and I can see why. It’s actually incredible! I could just sit and look at it all day. We actually managed to get there pretty early and best the tour buses. There were a fair few American tourists there bring quite over the top and loud i am not a fan of tourists, and funny enough I don’t consider to be one!
I would say I am a traveller. Which leads me on to a quote I saw on a card ..

“travellers don’t know where they are going and tourists don’t know where they have been” fairly accurate that!

Back to porridge as my dad would say this week (back to work). Nice to be home, but I am house sitting for a lady at work, which is good in some ways as I get use if the car, as long as I put fuel in. But it’s a pretty big house with a freaky cat who doesn’t get on with me. All it does is meow at me and I’ve already feed it. Could be a great 10 days.

I feel I need some time off now that I’ve been trekking round the country. I have a flight to Wellington booked for 2 weeks time. No accommodation and no return flight back. Could be interesting! Must get planning. I am hoping May will be quite quiet and I can recover at home. Then fully throw myself into winter fun at the end of June!

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