Another long and winding road…as if there were any other kind in NZ. What looked like a short 200 miles or so actually took like 6 hours of driving time. My memory of this portion of the trip is dicey in terms of details — stopped at a beautiful overlook while a bike race (sucked to be them) was going on, brief stop at Lake Wanaka (I think), lots of driving, flirted with a storm, hiked to several waterfalls, was bitten a million times by sand flies, found a piece of raw jade on the beach, drove through the Haast Pass, crossed many one-way bridges (there’s really no other kind in NZ), almost lost my camera, ate an excellent meal at a bizarre lodge in the middle of nowhere, and finally arrived in Fox Glacier just as it started to rain. Yet another beautiful drive.View above Queenstown – Queenstown was a lot smaller and more village-like than I expected. Kind of like a ski town in Colorado.
See what I mean about the signs?
Somewhere on the side of the road
On a hike through a rainforest to Fantail Falls – what’s with people stacking rocks around the world? We can never escape it!
One way bridge over the pass
Thunder Creek Falls – it started raining around this time, and the sand flies were in full force. We stomped around like crazy people trying to keep them away. At this point, we started to get that feeling you get when you’ve been at a museum for too long, and saw one too many paintings. As beautiful and wonderful as the waterfalls were, we were a bit ‘waterfalled out.’ Plus, we were getting hungry…
In front of a waterfall backrop. FAKE.
Dinner at the lodge (decorated with multiple antlers) – when we walked in, every single person turned to stare at us. This was maybe the ONE place in NZ where we felt just a little bit unwelcome. But probably part of that is I asked the waitress 10x to repeat what she was saying because I did not understand her…sorry waitress! I wasn’t trying to be difficult!
Post-dinner, we still had a little more driving to do before reaching Fox Glacier. We made a quick pit stop at Knights Point — from here on out, the terrain became less rainforest and mountains, and more coastal. Below: the Tasman Sea, where we watched the sun say its final goodbye for the evening. The light and the clouds were so amazing here, I couldn’t stop taking pictures.