A Travellerspoint blog

2009 - South Island, New Zealand

A week of touring the West Coast of the South Island.

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Another week off, this time in touring the South Island of New Zealand. To my shame I had travelled very little around the South Island and so I decided to do something about it.

Friday 27 February to Sunday 1 March - I took the long way to Christchurch, first of all by train from Auckland to Wellington. The weather was not too bad for the journey but did not manage to see the North Island mountains due to mist. Over night in Wellington.

The next day I caught the ferry from Wellington to Picton. It started raining just as we left and did not let up all day, so did not see very much at all, except the inside of the ferry's bar.

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The ferry from Wellington to Picton (just before it rained).

A couple of hours after arriving in Picton I caught the train to Christchurch. Again the miserable weather prevented any decent views. Stayed a couple of days in Christchurch, catching up with a friend.

Monday 2 March to Wednesday 4 March - I then collected my rental car and drove to the West Coast over Arthur's Pass.

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Lake Pearson, on the road towards Arthur's Pass.

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The mountains just before you enter the pass.

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The bridge at Otiria, halfway through the Southern Alps.

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The mountains from Franz Joseph.

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More of the Southern Alps, as seen from the township.

I stayed in Franz Joseph, a tourist town on the coast, most famous for its glacier that is almost at sea level.

I did a glacier walk on the Franz Joseph Glacier. Great views from the top.

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Franz Joseph Glacier.

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Right at the face of the glacier.

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The view from half way up the glacier. The sea is only about 20km over the far hill.

A day trip to Okarito Lagoon, Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson. Fox Glacier is another sea level glacier and is about 20km down the road. Lake Matheson is known for its reflection of Mt Cook.

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The beach at nearby Okarito.

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The Okarito Lagoon.

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Fox Glacier.

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The névé at the top of Fox Glacier.

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The western side of Mt Cook, as seen from near Lake Matheson.

Thursday 5 March to Saturday 7 March - From Franz Joseph, I carried on south down the West Coast, crossing the Haast Pass, through Wanaka, to Mt Cook. Long day, but scenic. The differences between the West Coast (always raining) and Central Otago (dry as a camel's armpit) are huge.

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Bruce Bay.

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Knight's Point look out and seal colony.

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Heading inland along the Haast River accompanied by zillions of sand flies!
I made the mistake of leaving the car door open, thus inviting those several zillion sandflies inside. Not fun at all trying to get rid of them. Finally managed it many, many kilometres down the road after leaving all windows open and killing those who wanted to use my legs as a free lunch.

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Lake Wanaka.

I stayed at Glentanner which is about 20 km from Mt Cook. Nice sort of a place, a bit remote, but quiet and scenic. Weather up at Mt Cook was dodgy, but out of the mountains it was great. Mt Cook village is about 70km in a straight line from Franz Joseph but about 500km by road.

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The view from Glentanner, across Lake Pukaki.

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The view back down towards to Lake Pukaki.

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The Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo.

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Memorial to the sheep dog, Lake Tekapo.

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Sunset over Lake Pukaki.

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More of the sunset.

From there, a nice drive back to Christchurch, dropped the car off at the airport and flew back to Auckland.
.

Posted by nzhamsta 13:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged mountain train

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