I was sad to leave Glentanner, I loved it there despite the weather and I will go back. It was great to hear the helicopters starting, I knew it must be a reasonable day and was pleased for the pilots and the tourists.
I stopped at Pete’s Lookout to take some final photos of the beautiful snow-covered mountains and Lake Pukaki, no surf today. There was still some wind but nothing like the gales we had, seemingly they were over 120 kilometres. However blue sky had been uncommon for much of November and I kept on finding better and better cloud formations.
Not far after the turnoff from Mt Cook traffic was crawling, a house was being moved on the back of a truck and was taking both sides of the road. This has to be done at night where I live that makes sense, I think. There was lots of traffic, mostly tourists (I can usually tell by the cars they drive now – practise), a few Kiwis and trucks. He finally pulled over and we passed, only to see an ambulance, paramedics and a fire engine (all with lights going) in the salmon farm car park. Two guys were waving traffic on, not wanting anyone to go into the salmon farm so it looks like something serious had happened.
I stopped at Omarama for diesel, breakfast and four batteries for my radio. The batteries were $19.00! Wow, I usually buy them at the $2 shop for $4 (for two packets of two). I had to have them, I knew there would be minimal internet at Haast and I miss the talkbacks.
I liked returning via the Lindis Pass road, it’s an easy road to drive, as was the road from to Wanaka (SH8a) which cut some time off the journey but bypassed Cromwell, which I will have to visit another time. The sky was the most beautiful vivid blue and the clouds were still amazing. I must remember to clean the windscreen more frequently though and at time the reflections from the sun spoiled some really great shots. However, I wasn’t complaining.
After the Lindis Pass there was pleasant farming country, mainly flat and I enjoyed the different route. It was a great time saver as a direct route from Central Otago to the West Coast with very little traffic, not that I was in a hurry.
I didn’t go in to Wanaka township and the road from there to to Makaora was reasonable, much goes along Lake Hawea and Lake Wakatipu. I have discovered I don’t like driving high above the lake, closest to it. I was still a little sensitive post the earthquake.
I stopped at Makaora for an ice-cream, delicious. It was not a brand we have in the north and I had kiwifruit and ambrosia, a scoop of each. While I was sitting a car pulled in, moved and stopped several times till he found the best place to park. There was only me there and the car park was large. I was parallel parked and, with considerable manoeuvring, he angle parked in front of me, looking exasperated and changed places with a passenger, then they then shot off! I was most amused. I saw him twice after that, he’s a nice old guy.
After Makaora there are some lovely stretches of the bush and trees that I love. Sometimes the seem to almost touch at the top, creating a tunnel.
I stopped at the Blue Pools, a lovely walk through bush, over 2 swing bridges and down to the river flat. I saw some nice bracket fungi. I was there about an hour and trudged back up the track slightly weighed down by some more stones for my garden.
I found the elusive Haast Pass sign sign that we had looked for in April. I stopped and saw there was also a memorial with Otago on one side, Westland on the other. I stood with a foot in both, as you do. It seemed that as soon as I left Otago the wind stopped and as I entered Westland, the rain started.
Our forefathers showed great imagination in naming regions in our country. We have the North Island and the South Island. The most northerly province in the North Island is Northland. In the South Island, the southernmost province is is Southland and to the west we have Westland. Most of us call Westland “The West Coast”. I live on the west coast of the North Island and that’s not called the West Coast. Not confusing at all!
The Gates of Haast, a series of rapids there are enormous boulders and steep walls, evidence of the schist which is the basic rock in these mountains.
Creeks of note were Gout Creek, the guy who named it has my sympathy and understanding, and Gunboat Creek. That amused me as it was a long way from the sea.
For the first time I got takeaways for dinner, fish and chips plus 3 crumbed mussels. I had to go to the pub to get them, not a place I am comfortable in but there was a lovely turtle named Frankin to keep me entertained. I wish I had taken my phone with me so I could have got a photo. At times he is out of his enclosure and visits the patrons!
It raining but it’s good to be back here, on the West Coast ❤