Saturday: So much for getting up early to go to the gorge today. A hat trick of failures on that count.
(For those who haven’t followed my blog, we did eventually make it to Hokitika Gorge in 2014. You can read about it here.)
So, instead, we went to the museum where, true to form, we didn’t have enough time to do it justice but did enjoy it. Small, local museums offer insights into and stories about local life that are sometimes missed in the bigger picture at the larger ones.
A minor panic this morning. I checked my emails and, despite the email confirmation from yesterday, discovered there was no availability for the Milford Sound cruise I’d booked and paid for. We managed to find an alternative – booked by phone rather than online – but it didn’t endear booking agencies to me and I’ve been wary of them ever since. Having a receipt and a confirmation may not be any guarantee. Something I’ll keep in mind.
Heading south, we stopped for lunch at the café at Hari Hari where Stu had the recommended whitebait sandwich (the last one for the day) and I had fish and chips. Mine was good. Stu said his was, but he hasn’t rushed back to sample whitebait again.
Having done our flight the day before, we didn’t feel cheated at not getting up close and personal with the glaciers this time. But a brief stop at Franz Josef Glacier had us vowing to come back to walk on the ice.
Stu wanted to stop everywhere to take photos. We stopped a lot, but not quite everywhere. Is there no end to this scenery? Here’s just a few of the photos. See if you can spot the stag on the ridge. We could hear him roaring on one of many, many stops to admire the views.
At Wanaka YHA, our stop for the night, we were more than a little disappointed with our “lake view” room. A euphemism, at best. You could, just, see the lake – across the road (with its associated noise) and a park.
Earth Hour tonight made it a bit hard to eat in the dark but we managed. We finished off the day with a walk around town and some Irish music at the pub. A bit late to bed but it’s the end of daylight saving (thank goodness) so we get an extra hour to sleep tonight.
Sunday was quite relaxed. Unstressed about getting on the road, we lingered in the hostel talking to people from around the world.
On our way to Te Anau we stopped at the Cardrona pub for a Devonshire tea.
On a day mainly spent driving, we rounded many corners to more gorgeous scenery, proympting Stu say “Fuck off!” in mock disbelief more times than I can count. The result was that we coined the phrase “fuck off view”, abbreviated to FOV – a phrase that has followed us on subsequent trips and is now firmly entrenched in the family vocabulary.
For that sake of more delicate sensibilities, I transformed this into “A Wow! around every corner”.
Both are accurate descriptions of our reactions to the drive.
Then at Arrowtown we walked around the shops and bought a few goodies before driving on to find a spot to have lunch. We pulled up at a secluded beach where it was a bit chilly but, of course, WOW! beautiful.
Stu had to stop at Stu’s Tackle Shop to buy some local flies.
After checking in at the hostel we had a walk along the lake then back for nibbles, drinks and dinner.
If you must spend a day mostly driving, what better place to do it than in New Zealand’s beautiful scenery.