The Great Escape

So, we finally got our time on the glacier a couple of days ago ( – losing all track of time here) and it was absolutely breathtaking.

Scenic Flight

Franz Josef

As it was going to be at least Tuesday til the bridge was fixed (and it was Friday and we had shit to do, places to go), we decided to bite the bullet high tail it out of Franz Josef while we could.

Unfortunately this meant a 2 day drive south, up the east coast and across to the west coast, all told the best part of an 800km detour to get round the washed out bridge about 50km up the road!

We pretty much retraced our steps, back the way we’d just come. Still it meant a chance to get a better look at the beautiful Lake Hawea…

Lake Hawea

We stopped in Haast for lunch and had little mini breaks at Thundercreek Falls, Blue Pools and the amazingly golden Lindis Pass.

Lindis Pass

Then onwards towards Twizel – en route excellent views of Mount Cook in the distance with a fresh dump of snow (which we’d seen earlier from the chopper which got there in about 10 mins) and now 5 hours plus drive later were seeing from the ground.

Mt Cook

Broke our journey in Geraldine for the night after about 9 hours driving (not including the stops).

Up earlyish the next morning to set off from Geraldine to Jackson via Arthurs Pass. Beautiful drive. Stopped a couple of times to stretch our legs – in the Peel Forest for a half hour steep uphill climb crossing a fast flowing stream to Acland Falls – muddy… Methven for lunch in a place with a penchant for deer antlers… (and an unscheduled garage stop to replace a blown light bulb)


…Castle Hill with its massive weird rocks…

Castle Hill Rocks

Arthurs Pass National Park has some spectacular rivers…


On through the spectacular Otira Gorge where we encountered some cheeky Kea…


And finally arrived at our stop for the night, Jackson’s Retreat which was lovely. Really good facilities, spacious, friendly helpful proprietor and chatty clientele. Jackson’s definitely in our top three sites.

Today, another long drive from Jackson to Motueka via stops in Hokitika to check out the jade. If you’re in the area looking for Jade, definitely seek out Traditional Jade near the beach. Beautiful stuff, family run business, lovely people. Got a few pieces there when I was in NZ my last trip and really wanted to go back. The experience was every bit as lovely as I remembered it…



Jade and Bone Carvings

…and Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks) …


Spent rather longer in Hokitika than planned but no regrets. However it did mean it was about 8.30 pm before we got to Murchison where we stopped for dinner and there was still a loooong way to go before we got to Motueka our stop for the night. Last couple of hours driving in the dark on twisty turny roads were bad enough – when we finally did arrive at the camp site we spent the best part of an hour trying to find our power site for the night. Not impressed!

Anyway, here we are now and the next few days should be more relaxing. Heading to Collingwood for a few days tomorrow. A chance to get back into walking after all this driving. Looking forward to it…

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