Our guide book dubbed the West Coast of the South Island the "wet coast" and after leaving Lynn and Tim at the airport and driving for several hours in non-stop rain we felt it a good nickname. However, after camping overnight in a Holiday Park and waking up the next morning to a glorious day we started to get excited.
We started driving to the Franz Joseph Glacier - sunshine the whole way, Eric stopping at every turn to allow me to take more photos. We pulled over for lunch here:
Our next stop was the Franz Joseph Glacier and we had great weather for the trek up to the glacier. It's been receding recently so the walk took longer than our guidebook suggested! It was nice to get a walk in but not that spectacular of a glacier. However, we went to the effort, so here are the photos:
That night we freedom camped (meaning camped for free, this time in a field). It was gorgeous and we enjoyed our wine (and daylight savings!) out in a field, admiring the mountains, cows, and rivers.
We awoke to a spectacular sunrise and ran around photographing the mountains and river from every angle. I tried to edit it down to three, click on any to enlarge:
After a morning of photos we continued on to the Fox Glacier. The weather was still fantastic (who said wet coast?!) and we set off for the longer of the hike options, up to the chalet. We had a fun hike up in a jungle-like setting, complete with a river to cross. Great views greeted us at the chalet.
We continued our drive and went on another hike alongside the road. It's worth mentioning these are all government hikes, set up with excellent trails and signage (and FREE!). This one was to the Blue Pools. Here are some photos from this gorgeous setting, complete with Eric diving into the freezing water. He rose to the surface, sans air in his lungs, to clapping from the other tourists too afraid to take the plunge!
That night we camped at a government campsite. Set on a windy stretch of land in Lake Wanaka we took beach strolls and again pinched ourselves for such lucky weather. We also took the first shower in our little camper van shower - quite small but enough to get the job done!
Our luck with great weather has continued into Wanaka, a charming small town with tons of hikes in the surrounding area. We have yet to have internet, so hence this short post (I'm currently doing our laundry in the laundry mat!), but I wanted to share some photos of the last few beautiful days we have enjoyed.
Queenstown is next and hopefully there will be better weather there to share some more gorgeous photos!