Listening to the rain pitter patting on the roof of the van, i huddle up in my blankets. Two out of my three pairs of shoes are soaked. Thankfully I am sleeping in my long johns. It’s chilly. The rain gains momentum. It sounds like it’ll wash the van down the mountain side. It has been raining all day and now all night. We are in the rainforest after all.
We’ve started traveling up the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. We were hoping to hitch a ride on a helicopter in order to take a hike out onto a glacier, but the weather is not cooperating. By the sound of it, I believe this morning isn’t going to be any better. How much do we really want to go glacier exploring anyways? I am tired of being wet. Kevin gets out the map and suggests we take a walk to at least see a glacier.
The sun seems to approve of our decision. It peeks through the clouds long enough to warm us up and shines down on the Franz Josef Glacier.
We went as far as we could on the path, but we couldn’t get too close. We clicked a couple of zoomed in photos and then found a comfy rock to sit on, ate an apple and admired the view until the clouds rolled back in.
There was even a unicorn out enjoying the day. Almost wish I had brought my cat pajamas. She did make us smile.
The run off from the glacier was very muddy and the rapids were ferocious reminding us of nature’s powerful force.
Further up Highway 6 we arrived in Punakaiki. Punakaiki ‘s claim to fame are the Pancake Rocks and blowholes. We take another stroll. This time through a maze of flax, it’s pointy, sword like leaves bowing in the wind, towards the ocean.
Scientists don’t know the reason for the unusual layering of limestone in this area. The rocks look like stacked pancakes.
The Tasmin Sea has pushed it’s way around and through these rocks churning into froth and shooting out of holes.
Very few people live along the West Coast. It is remote and wild. The earth is alive with energy, and those darn sand flies.
We travel about as far up the coast as we can before the road ends and we’ll have to turn back and make our way across the island again to catch the ferry back to the North Island, but we have a few days yet before we need to be there. From Karamea we follow a bumpy old logging road to a trail that leads to the Oparara Arch, a large limestone arch with trees growing off the top of it and a watery cave hidden behind it.
Besides having to deal with the flies and the dampness, we appreciate Mother Nature’s powerful show here on the West Coast.