Friday, November 23, 2007

West Coast Touring (but not paddling)

Since leaveing Murchison, we have been on a bit of a road trip seeing the sights. We headed for the West Coast, via the delicious Blackball Salami company, and stayed the night on a beautiful beach near Greymouth. The next morning we toured the Monteiths Brewery, and found some new favorite beers. Try Monteith's Radler beer. A delightfully refreshing 'shandy' tasting beer.
We then headed south along the coast road to Hokitika. Base for many kayakers for the West Coast heli runs, but only our US friends were boating there. We are saving the West coast runs for when Ed gets here, so we carried on further south to the Glaciers.
We took the short scenic walks up to the front of Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, although we didn't go glacier hiking (guided) like scores of other tourists.

After a couple of days of easy car tourism, it was time to do something energetic. Jonny Adler had recommended an overnight hike on the Copland track, so we though this would be a great time to do it... No rain forcast for days. The hike was fairly moderate, not too many long climbs, and alternated between following the river, and heading through dense wooded areas. Several sidestreams had to be crossed, by a combination of stepping stones, or Indiana Jones style bridges. When we arrived at the Welcome Flat hut, we had had enough hiking for the day, and collapsed into the hotsprings. Definitely worth the hike. The hut can sleep about 30, and is pretty busy most weekends, so we made sure we'd arrive early.
Shame theres no hot springs at the car park to ease aching muscles when you get back to the car, just packs of hungry blackfly!
"The blackflies were that BIG"

As a reward for our exertations, we drove to the end of the road at Jacksons bay, mainly to go to the Fish and Chip shack. Delicious, and well worth the drive. We camped along the beach, and saw a single solitary Fyordland Crested Penguin!
We continued our drive via the Haast Pass, over to Wanaka, where we visted puzzling world, an excellent place to visit for the mentally challenged, full of optical illusions and mind bending activities.
From there we headed to Queenstown where we'll be based for several days paddling. We've seen same classic roadsigns (more next post)

1 comment:

jadler said...

Glad you did that hike--great pictures. It really is an unreal valley. I'm reading your whole blog now so get ready for some opinions...