Archive - January 5, 2018

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Haast to Cromwell New Zealand
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Chasing the New Year with Rain

Haast to Cromwell New Zealand

Today would be another short day as we would only be heading to Cromwell.  I had recently met someone who had just been to New Zealand, and she gave me some advice on her favorite things to see here.  We would stop by the Blue Pools today and go through the Remarkables Mountain Range. The sun was out, and the sky was clear, so I was happy. If you have followed along on any of my past trips, you know that I hate being cold. We stopped at Thunder Creek Falls, which have a little pool at the bottom. This reminded me of many films and commercials where someone is at the bottom of a perfect waterfall, bathing in the pool below…so picturesque. Down the road a little further we found the blue pools. Another suspension bridge and a 15 min hike was well worth the pristine cleared aqua blue water that we found beneath a second bridge.  New Zealand really loves bridges, and loves to torture me with wobbly bridges. We soon learned that the water was extremely cold. Locals were taking the plunge, as well as a few tourists.  One gentleman from Canada exclaimed “Whew! that is brisk.  Even for Canada that is cold”.  We only put our hands in, and can confirm that the water was pretty icy. We continued south and passed by two large lakes, Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. I was loving the sun and warmer weather compared to the recent rain.  We found lunch in Wanaka, which was a super busy holiday spot with tons of people enjoying the summer sun.  The place was packed, and it took us quite a while to find parking.  Many of the cafes and food stands had lines out their doors. I’m sure everyone thought Frank and I were crazy dressed in full motorcycle gear while everyone else was in shorts and tank tops. Our final push south would take us to Cromwell.  This would be where we make use of Motostays for the first time.  It is a network of motorcyclist that host you in their home for free.  You in turn list your home as a possible place for other motorcyclist to stay. It seemed like a great way to to meet locals that knew all the details about the area and could point us in the right direction, especially all the best roads and sights to see.  We found Paul and Catherine who were located in Cromwell, and prior to the trip Paul and Frank had been emailing back and forth. He gave us a great general itinerary for the whole South Island based on how many days we had, and with that info I was able to plan out where our hotel stays would be. But last night was the last reservation I had made.  Paul told us not to make anymore reservations, because we would have to wait and see how the weather was. So the next few days, we would literally[…]

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Chasing the New Year with Rain

It rained all night at Franz Josef Glacier.  We checked out the weather forecast and it was going to be heavy rain all day.  We decided to just hang out and try to wait it out. The normal checkout time was 10am, so we asked the manager if we could stay till 11 or 12, and he gave us the OK.  He said as long as we left before his cleaning staff at 2pm, because he did not want to clean the room himself!  We took advantage of the the hotel having a laundry room, and after I bothered the other guest for coins, I managed to find someone who had change for a NZ $20 bill. We started the laundry and walked to find breakfast in pouring rain.  As we turned the corner we saw the big group of motorcyclists that we had met at the lunch two days earlier. They looked completely soaked, and I hoped their gear was more waterproof than it looked. We all waved in recognition, and Frank and I took shelter in a cafe for breakfast.   We went back, finished laundry, and packed up.  It was still only noon, and the rain was not letting up. We then went to the West Coast Wildlife Center to kill more time.  They take injured animals, rehabilitate them and release them back out into he wild. We learned a lot about the different native Kiwi birds and their predators.  I learned about the Stoat, which I had never heard of that before, but is very similar to a weasel. The stoat is the biggest threat/predator to the Kiwi bird. The center also had a big room that simulated night time, so we had a chance to see Kiwi birds up close in a pretend habitat. We were not allowed to take pictures, so unfortunately I have no way to prove that we saw the Kiwi Birds. We also met the Tuatara, not a lizard, but it sure looks like it.  They are great at being completely still. For a long time.  A really long time.  I know, we waited for a really long time. Did I mention it was raining outside?  After we had our fill of all things Kiwi, we decided to hit the road even though it was still raining.  We had reservations in Haast, which we originally thought we would cancel because it was not that far down the road.  But we were glad to have the stop in Haast so we would have a short drive in the rain. We were heading south and the rain was heading north, but it was really coming down, and we were in heavy rain for about two hours. We stopped by Fox Glacier, but decided against the 20 min walk as it was pouring. Finally, as we got closer to Haast the rain stopped and the sky cleared. We made a stop at the Salmon Farm and cafe, to take a stretch and snack break.[…]

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