I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Sunday 10 March 2024

The BIG One - New Zealand - Days 26, 27 and 28

 Monday 26th February - Hokitika

I am so behind with the blog that today is a haze to both of us.  I write a brief diary to the family every night which has been a great help in jogging my memory but even that is a bit scant for today!

I do know that we went to Shantytown Heritage Park first which is a recreated 19th century mining town. There was lots to see and we had a brief ride on what should have been a steam train but turned out to be a diesel ☹️. The short line is called the Infants Creek Tram line and was originally used for hauling logs to the saw mill.  Shantytown opened in 1971 after a community effort of 10,367 hours and lots of donations.  We really enjoyed our visit.

We then dove to Lake Kaniere but didn’t stop which was a shame.  We carried on passed the lake on an unmade road to Dorothy Falls.  The Falls were lovely until we realised there was a top bit too which made it even lovelier!

Hokitika Gorge was our last stop of the day.  We walked to the look out point and were a little disappointed though we are both in love with the lovely colour of the glacial water.

Our site in Hokitka was quite a small one and had alpacas and goats.  We were close to the beach and could hear the waves crashing on the shore.  It was the nicest site we have been to.

Tuesday 27th February - Fox Glacier

A real wow day!  I certainly won’t forget this day in a hurry.  I had booked a helicopter flight up to the Franz Josef Glacier.  Franz Josef is a small town spread along one street.  I had booked with Glacier Country Helicopters and they were the last office along the strip!  There were 7 of us, including our pilot, Poppie (and CEO of the company).  There was a fair bit of cloud around but once we got through that it was AMAZING. We touched down on Shackleton’s Glacier and spent about 10 minutes there.  Poppie took photos of us with our own phones and one with hers.  She then disappeared around the back of the helicopter, opened a locker and came over to us with a souvenir presentation folder with our photo in it.  How cool to have a printer in the boot of your helicopter!!  Our trip was 35 minutes and sadly all too soon we were back on the ground.

We had lunch in Franz Josef.  We both had burgers but Richard sustained an injury!  The burger was held together with a large cocktail stick, but he didn’t see it and poked the end into his chin!  It bled for quite some time!!

We drove on to Fox Glacier for our site for the night.  The site wasn’t brilliant, we were sloping which didn’t matter for sleeping but the water wouldn’t drain away in the bowls.  However we did have a lovely view.

Wednesday 28th February - Wanaka

It was a day of driving and stopping.  I finally got to drive for about 70kms - I must have been feeling better!

Our first stop was Knights Point Lookout.  Two teams of workers had started building the road from opposite ends.  They met in the middle and decided to call the spot something to celebrate.  Knight was the name of the surveyor’s dog, so it became Knights Point Lookout!

The next stop was Ship Creek.  There was a view point but there were also two short walks which took you from windswept sand dunes to swamp forest. It was enjoyable walk.

Our third stop was Thunder Creek Falls which are 315 feet high.  There were certainly stunning.

We couldn’t park at our fourth stop so we missed out on some blue pools again.

Wanaka was our final destination and the main thing for me was to find That Wanaka Tree.  We parked up and walked to Wanaka Lake which is beautiful.  It has a sandy shore and there were people sunbathing and swimming in the lake. The back drop of the mountains finished off the gorgeous picture. The Wanaka Tree sits alone in the water and has been there for 80 years.  The tree has been damaged both intentionally and unintentionally on several occasions.  A branch came off in late 2017 due to tourists climbing it, and it was vandalised in March 2020 with multiple branches being sawn off.

We went off to find the Wanaka Top 10 campground but there were full!  I had been phoning ahead every morning to book a pitch only to be told that they had plenty of room and to just rock up.  Today I didn’t bother to phone - that will teach me!  The receptionist gave us the address of another local site which had plenty of room and we had a lovely pitch.



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