Day 19 Pancakes for Tea

Two days to go. has it really been that long. I could go on for ever. I think Rons quite pleased its coming to an end so he can finally move house  🙂  Leaving Franz Josef we head out along the coast up to Hokitika, calling at the gold town of Ross on the way. Ross was established in the 1860s, during the west coast gold rush, where it became an important center for miners. After a quick coffee and a run round the jail house we set off up the coast road again. We stopped at the famed tree top walk and cafe just south of Hokitika. Here we climbed up amounst the trees along a metal gangway and up a rather high tower which swayed alot.

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Into Hokitika for lunch and a visit to the museum at the famed jewel town. There was once 102 hotels in the town at the height of the gold rush. Lovely town with plenty of jade gallerys for those with lots of cash…(not me ) but nice to look around. One ice cream and off we go.

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A quick stop in Greymouth for coffee and onto our nightly stop at punakaiki resort. Here are the pancake rocks. Not even the scientists know how these where formed. Astounding they are. The tied was not in far enough for us to get the benefit of the blow holes so we will try again in the morning. But the sea was very rough and crashed against the rocks as we walked round the trail. Great view from the hotel as we readied our selves for the farewell dinner in the restaurant. And a very raucous occasion it was. Lots of speeches and singing. I’m sure I saw a tear in Ron’s eye. Whether it was with relief or sadness Ill never know lol. Eventually we wound our way to our beds leaving the grateful staff to clear up behind us to not look forward to our last day of travel in this wonderful country.



Day 18 Top of the World

Day off today or at least we can do what we want. So lets go for a helicopter ride eh. We all booked what we wanted to do yesterday. The heli hike seemed a bit strenuous for me (you would have loved it Bob up the glacier with those crampon things on  🙂   ) As we didn’t get our flight over Milford sound we had some money coming back to us so I picked the 40 min flight around mount Cook. Time of my life is all I can say. We took off about 9.00 and the weather was beautiful. Flew up Franz Joseph Glacier then up to Fox Glacier then round Mount Cook and Mount Tasmen. Fabulous scenery so close. Then we land on Fox at the top, climb out and walk around. How cool is that !!!!!!! Without a doubt the high lite of the tour. Wind wasn’t to bad but Craig the pilot did say only 1 in 3 days was good for flying. You don’t realize the enormity of what you are standing on until you see the fly specs of the other choppers on the glacier. Awesome. Thats my shoes standing on the glacier heh heh.




















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We headed back down the Franz Glacier and home. What an experience. That afternoon Ron took us up to Okarito Nature reserve where we hiked around the sea side and the local area. Very Beautiful and very hot. From there we went to The Franz Joseph Glacier view point as Some hadn’t done the helicopter flight. Why is everything up hill in this country !!! Then back to the hotel and dinner in the Alice May again. (Nice restaurant) Breakfast in bed to even nicer.













All in all the best day ever lol.

Watch here and be amazed


Day 17 Kamikazi

So out of sleepy Wanaka we set. (Well everyone else always seems to be in bed when we leave?……..) Long old trip up to Franz Josef. So probably a boring coach day…..Not if Ron’s got anything to do with it  😉  Quick Coffee at lake Hawea and on we trundle. Stopping for an early lunch I grab a ham sarni and a bag of crisps, then go get a bottle of cider at the bar (well it is 11.30 BLAH)  Just as we are about to leave a 1930 ish bugati turns up asking about petrol. Looks like there’s a rally somewhere as we see at least another 10 or 12 all traveling in the same direction. Boy do they look uncomfortable.







Stopping at various photo shoot spots along the way we continue our way up. Thundercreek falls is one of these. There are so many beautiful falls and streams its difficult to stop taking pictures lol. On to Ship creek. The small river here acquired another name – Ship Creek, after part of a ship was washed up on the beach. This was believed to be part of the Schomberg which was wrecked off Cape Otway, Victoria, in 1854. The Schomberg was a 2600-ton clipper on her maiden voyage – the largest wooden ship ever launched from a British yard. At least that’s what it said on the plaque. At this point I looked down and spotted the kamikaze flies. Run……… late. Well I’m not going in that area again…..covered in bites after removing them all. Watch out for the sand flies on the beach too……why did we stop here lol. Lots of wood carvings on the beach or rather broken trees. Lets go…






Into Franz we fly just in time for Happy hour at the Alice May. Unload into the Punga Motel and into the bar. The rest is a blur…..

Day 16 Panning for Gold with Nazgul

Half a free day today. Well for everyone else. I got picked up by Nomad safaris at 8.30am and headed out into the LOTR mountains and bush. First stop The remarkables mountain range, or for us the Misty Mountains. (The mountains were named The Remarkables by Alexander Garvie in 1857-58, allegedly because they are one of only two mountain ranges in the world which run directly north to south) After taking pictures of the stunning views and relating some film scenes to the surrounding area  headed of to Kawaru river. Paul our guide had loads of stories about filming and had loads of jokes about aussies lol. The van was a Land rover defender with a number plate Smaugs. So i should have seen what was coming.  After looking down on the bungy jumping bridge from very high we saw the Spot that the scenes from Amon hen where filmed, minus statues. Then onto Arrowtown and the gold river. As Paul said all roads are  2 lane national highways with max speed of 100km per hour. You got to be kidding…after the water went over the bonnet I was getting worried lol. Stopped and saw where they filmed the Nazgul river scene…apparently they took all the stones from the river and laid down a rubber mat so the horses could run, then put all the stones back….phew. Then we panned for gold.











So Ive got to come home as I didn’t find any. (only dust). After another jaw breaking run down the stream we headed out to skipper pass another of those national Roads lol. Sheer cliff one side and straight down the other. This is where the miners used to bring in there mules and kit, all 50000 of them. The Road took 9 years to build and by the time they finished it the Gold rush was over. Back to Queenstown and the bus. Thanks Nomad, great tour, love the number plates!!












Back to the bus and off to Wanaka. Stopped off for a beer at The grubbiest looking hotel in the west but inside was a lovely bar. reminded me of an English fine dinning bar. Beers where on Ron…Cheers.

Into Wanaka and booked in, then off to dinner at a local house. Well mansion I should say. Thanks for a loverly dinner guys. gonna get some of those sweet potatoes or rather kumara, for sure. Bed time thank God!!!