After our wet day and peaceful evening we woke up to an overcast sky. Our plan was to drive to Haast for our overnight stay, about 5 hours away. We had 2 walks planned on the way. We drove to Okarito which is on the coast but has great views of the central mountain range as well. Our first walk was the Okarito Trig Walk. As the book says, “the views from the Okarito trig sum up everything you come to the West Coast to see.” A walk through the bush with the ocean roar in the background. A solid climb uphill to the lookout where the views of the mountains and the Franz Josef Glacier abound. Problem was the mountains were shrouded in a thick cloud layer. We did see the lagoons to the north and south and the sea. A worthwhile walk. We then drove to our next walk just north of Haast, Ship Creek Walkway. We did the Kahikatea Swamp Walk that took us across wetlands on a boardwalk and up a path through ancient trees heavy with moss and lichens, past dark waters. Right out of Lord of the Rings. The adjacent walk, Dune Lake Walk, combined a beach and forest walk. Remarkable how such a large old forest can be so close to the beach. The most memorable part of the beach and carpark was the number of sandflies, the NZ blackfly. They swarmed our car. Nine days later our ankles are still showing signs of the bites. Phil’s particularly because he was driving and couldn’t swat them off. We arrived in Haast late afternoon to a comfortable motel. We had dinner at the local tavern.
The next morning we were on the road again to Queenstown. Our activities generally start about 10 am when Phil is done with his business calls. Again we had a scenic drive stopping at a few places that looked intriguing. We arrived in Arrowtown for lunch at Akarua, a place that was recommended by Kat’s friend who came aboard Arethusa for one of the Prada Cup races. We ran into Mark and Leslie from the American Magic team there on a wine tasting tour with their friend who runs tours in the area. Small world! After a nice lunch we walked around Arrowtown which was established around an old gold mining settlement. There are many buildings that survive. We then headed to our hotel in Queenstown. Again Booking.com did not fail. It was a nice new hotel outside town on Fernhill that was quiet, accommodating and had beautiful views. This was home for four nights. We had three busy days ahead of us.
Not as many videos in this post but the waterfall is nice!
To be continued……