Over the Haast Pass

I did not sleep well. I had looked at the overnight temperature and knew it was going to be cold however when I was about to go to sleep (with the song of the kea) I was warm. I woke numerous times. Cold. Why I didn’t stand up and get my sleeping bag (my spare blanket)? I do know I woke up (to the song of the Kea) tired and grumpy. My fault entirely.

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Fox Glacier

I was sad this one is small in size, I didn’t edit it, maybe it was because of the zoom, I really don’t know.


The face of the glacier.


The upward thrust is apparent, this isn’t far from the Alpine fault.

I did get up early to do the Fox Glacier walk. Dasha and I had done Franz Joseph Glacier in April and it wasn’t too strenuous. We had also done the Tasman Glacier 400 step walk (and 400 steps return). Dasha sailed up, I huffed and puffed and struggled. We met a lovely gentleman in his 80s as we sere starting and he was finishing, he had to walking aides and he was fine. 

I set off and had to come back as I hadn’t replaced the memory card. The first three quarters of the walk was lovely but I struggled with the last part. It ascended quite quickly and steeply (recollections of Everest) and I just don’t seem to be able to manage that scenario now, sadly. I met a lovely Australian couple at the top and we chatted for ages. They are going to Doubtful Sound the same day I am. I also saw a young German guy who had been staying at the same place as I was in Karamea. I actually recognised him, he was blonde and black glasses and cute (with a girl friend). My facial recognition skills are lacking, I was impressed with myself.


Tiny people with the glacier end in the ‘V’



Going down, so pleasant!

You will be aware, by now, that I am fond of swing bridges. When I first started hiking I was very nervous of them, would make sure I was the only one on it and know I have overcome that so often seek them out. This one is a little special. It was prefabricated in England in 1929, dragged by sled to this site and installed. It is 70 meters long (230 feet). Impressive!


The drive to Bruce Bay was through bush but not as windy and hilly as had been previously. Bruce Bay is a special place where tourists have written messages on pieces of white quartz. On the last visit there were also many cairns/rock stacking pieces of art but I didn’t see them this time.


The pile is large, I am looking down on it


For size comparison, my lunch (a pie).

From Bruce Bay to Haast is mainly reasonable roads with many one way bridges and long straits to pass and as I got further south the climate change was apparent. The road side trees became smaller and it was obviously swampy. The rainfall in the south west corner of NZ is extreme.


There were helicopter business’s everywhere.


This intrigued me . . .  how to wrap a bridge!


Some sheep in the shearing yards.


I approached the dreaded Haast bridge, 737 meters (2418 feet) long and the longest single lane bridge in New Zealand and while it has two passing bays it raises my anxiety level (irrationally) to extreme. I had just pulled over to allow a car to pass me and travelled behind it over the bridge, quite happily, no drama.


The object of my fear 😦

The Haast Pass is the newest of the passes that transverses the southern alps. It was converted from a rough track (a stock route) to a formed road in 1961 and was sealed in 1995 and is 1490 kilometres long. The road is good, meanders alongside the Haast river for ages and ascends to 562 meters. Just after the Gates of Haast, the rivers change to run west/east. 

I stopped at the Roaring Billy waterfall and saw 2 bellbirds. The river had changed it’s course since April and was very very blue.


I saw a Dizzy stream, a Clark culvert, a Dusty Millar stream and a Doughboy stream plus many more with less interesting or intriguing names.

The road follows Lake Hawea and Lake Wakatipu for some time and I was amazed to come across a cycle race for (I presume) seniors! The road isn’t wide, has numerous double yellow lines and is both hilly and windy!

It was good to get to Wanaka, a pretty little tourist town that I was looking forward to exploring.

~~ 18 November~~


One thought on “Over the Haast Pass

  1. I feel so good to have been along this route with you in April. I can actually “feel” my memories as I am reading your blog. Terrific!!!1


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