New Years Day and some… shall we say… inclement weather 4

Was still feeling a bit feak and weeble yesterday so we took it easy for the day. Walked into town for a nourishing smoothie at Soul Food and then took a gentle stroll around the lake to Eely Point.


Lake Wanaka



Eely Point

Eely Point

Then back to Cafe Gusto for my fix of honey, lemon and ginger – their version, unsurpassed in town.

It was a bit rainy and cold at times and what with feeling a bit ropey and all, had the inspired idea of going to the cinema to see Skyfall, the latest Bond movie.

Film Posters

Got to sit in comfy seats in the warm, and the movie was actually quite good too - improbable though the action scenes were in true Bond fashion.

As dorky tourists, we had the honour of sitting in the Morris Minor (yes there’s a car in the cinema so you can make like you’re at the drive in, and if you feel so inclined, make out on the back seat – great idea – will be campaigning for one in my local picturehouse when I get back!).

In the Car

Out of the movie by 7.30 ish and fading fast so went for a curry at the Spice Room – fantastic food and friendly service.

Spice Room

Internally warmed by a good curry it was time to head to the lakefront to watch the locals bringing in 2013.


Great band on – the Sugar Monsters rocked us and the crowd (well more of a large-ish gathering of mainly teenagers really), with their very proficiently executed soulful, rocky and funky covers. Excellent, especially considering they all looked about 12.

Sugar Monsters

The lead singer had an awesome voice and oodles of stage presence.

Lead Singer

The spirit was willing but the flesh weak and we didn’t quite have the energy to stay for the fireworks at midnight so wearily trundled back to camp.

Trundling back to camp

Made do with watching from a distance back at camp and toasting in the new year with a mug of hot honey and lemon, glad to be watching from the van rather than standing in the rain… Did very well to stay out for the whole day – there was no way I’d have dragged myself back out again if we’d returned to camp earlier in the day.

Left Wanaka this morning for a drive to Franz Josef where we’re staying for the next couple of nights. Heading straight for the dark clouds and a West Coast washout.

Had a quick coffee stop in Makarora (resident population 40 all of whom seemed to be working in the cafe) which had some interesting signage…

Makarora Cafe

Women’s Toilet

Unisex Toilet

No shoplifting

Forward thorugh Haast Pass and onto Haast for our lunch with no sign of the rain abating.

Rainy Day

If anything it was getting worse. The mountains shrouded in mist making an appearance every so often.

Mountains in the mist

The combination of driving rain, winding roads, flooding, mist, spray etc. made for some “interesting” driving. Impressive waterfalls cascaded down the mountainside onto the road every few metres…

Big water

and every one lane bridge (and there were many en route) had a raging torrent of a river or “creek” turned river raging beneath it.

Raging Torrent

Raging Torrent

Road Works

On several occasions, the height of the water way too close to the bridge or road for comfort… One can only surmise that on a dry day the “creeks” were a gentle, charming, trickle – but not today goddamit!

The lack of a “view” was more than made up for by the dramatic slanting rain drenched, wind swept scenery, and wild, wild sea…

Windswept coast - Bruce Bay, South Island, New Zealand

Have to say we were both pretty pleased to finally arrive safe and sound at Rainforest Retreat, “home” for the next couple of days.

Rainforest Retreat

Rainforest Retreat

Forecast is for more rain, so sadly I don’t think that heli hike we provisionally booked is gonna happen. Fingers crossed for a miracle…

Happy New Year and all the best for 2013…

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4 thoughts on “New Years Day and some… shall we say… inclement weather

  • Penny and Carol

    Hi there. We have been checking in on your blog as we make preparations for our own trip starting on 24th Jan. We were going to ask for some advice about hiring motorhomes but are now wondering if we should be thinking of hiring a boat instead! So sorry to hear that you are both suffering with coughs and colds. (Penny likewise) The drive through the pass sounded pretty hairy scary, and we hope the situation is improving for you rather than getting worse. Seriously tho’ any tips and advice from your experience of hiring your wheels would be gratefully received. Meanwhile, we will continue to follow you through your travels and continue to refine our plans.
    Happy New Year to you both. Looking forward to meeting up and sharing experiences and a country walk sometime in March.
    Love Carol and Penny x

  • Aba

    Hi Penny & Carol, welcome on board.
    We are safely away from Glacier country now though required a massive detour…

    Re wheels, advice is to book early! Depends how much you want on board. Last time round I had a basic van from Escape Rentals which suited my purposes – supposed to sleep 3 – very comfy for 1, two would be a squeeze and wouldn’t like to do it with 3.

    This time round have a 2+1 berth with kitchen, shower/ toilet. kitchen is handy if you’re wild camping but to be honest most camping grounds apart from some of the DOC ones have good kitchen facilities, showers etc. so toilet and shower on van nice but not strictly necessary.

    Haven’t used shower but bog has come in handy a few times when we’ve been parked up a bit of a way from the toilet block, and peeing out the back of the van in the middle of the night hasn’t been feasible…

    If you get a campervan with a roof vent, advice is not to open it! The one on mine was pretty flimsy and cost me $300 bucks when it blew off in the wind when it was closed… still arguing with the company over that one if they can be bothered to answer my email…

    If you think you’ll be doing a lot of miles, pay the diesel tax up front and go for unlimited mileage, if not, may not be worth it.

    There are tons of campervan companies, so shop around. Bigger ones like Maui are a bit more expensive.
    Jucy vans are more the budget end and lots of ppl driving them so guess they must be ok (if you don’t mind green and purple and slightly scantily clad woman on side… which you might…), avoid wikid, many of there vans have offensive sexist slogans…
    Kiwi, Mighty, Apollo seem midrange, and the vans I’ve seen seem well laid out.

    Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip when you get here (weather lovely today and has been for last couple and to be fair most of the time I’ve been here apart from the glitch at the glaciers). Happy n safe travels, and look forward to meeting up in March x

  • Penny and Carol

    Morning girls, although we are aware it is midnight for you right now. Good to hear that you are safely back on the road! Anyway thanks for taking the time to respond to our enquiry re motor homes. that was very helpful, and pretty much confirms what conclusions we had come to after some online research. We just have to book now as time is getting tight and availability is limited. We will continue to tune in to your travels. When are you due back?

    Take care. Love from us both P&C x

  • Aba

    No worries, also if you can get someone in NZ to book your van for you it might be a bit cheaper.
    We only got about a week left boo hoo 🙁