The drive from Franz Josef to Nelson is long and while it does have a few things to look forward to, mostly it is just a lot of driving.
After heading out from Franz, my parents and I made a quick stop in Greymouth for their morning coffee and my morning Caramel slice. We were once again surrounded by blue skies and sunlight. I for one don’t get tired of it!
From there, it was a quick 30 minutes north to once again see:
Despite two prior visits, the Franz Josef Glacier remained a mystery to me. Both times it had been cloaked in mist, rain and clouds. A third and final time proved to be the charm.
Having driven the Haast Pass a couple times already, I knew the drive had several potential stops along the way for hiking and photos. Nothing too serious in length, but worthwhile. So far I had only been to Thunder Falls, so with my parents we planned to be more thorough in our stopping and see a few more spots.
Once again, we were to have nothing but sunshine the entire way.
Near Fox Glacier lies Lake Matheson. Not a stunning lake by itself, but it’s location lends it to something special that features in numerous postcards from New Zealand. That something special, is a reflection of Mt. Cook and the Southern Alps.
After staying in Christchurch, we hit up Kaikoura next, with some success. The first day was fantastic – the other 3 got out onto a Whale Watching tour, saw 3 whales, some albatrosses and several dolphins. Marc and Alexandra then went skydiving, something that was high on their list of things to do in New Zealand, but hadn’t had the weather for so far. And we had a very tasty dinner. All in all, a very good day!
The next day the weather wasn’t cooperating, so the three unfortunately had their dolphin swim cancelled (one of my favourite memories here in New Zealand). That was very disappointing, but we still enjoyed the Kaikoura Peninsula walk before heading through the scenic Lindis Pass over to Greymouth, to spend the night there.
The next morning we drove up to Pancake Rocks, took in the sights, and then headed to a very soggy walk of Franz Josef glacier. The forecast for the next day was finally calling for some decent weather though…just in time.
We were headed to Fox Glacier to do some ice climbing! (note: A few pictures are courtesy of Alexandra and Sabrina)
Here is a pretty quick recapping of my first few days of 2012 on the South Island.
After an early morning wakeup, Hung, Markus and I were on the ferry leaving Wellington, heading to the South Island.