I slept the sleep of the innocent and woke around dawn, heard a Kea and went back to sleep. It rained most of the night, apparently, there was water everywhere and it was still raining. I went for a walk to the “Kea Tree”, it was huge and I thought I took photos, seemingly not or I have misplaced the memory card, but sadly no Keas.
I went to fill with diesel and the gas station is on the road to Jackson’s Bay (thank you Kiri, the GPS, with no cell coverage I would have had to ask human where it was 😉 ) I decided to miss it this time and go to Franz Joseph and as I decided this, the rain stopped and the sun came out. 🙂
Over the Haast Bridge and I was going to stop and take a photo or two, once over it. This was impossible as the park was full of buses. Tourists, like me, taking photos. Next time.
The first stop was the Ship Creek walk, not too far on. There were lots of campers and cars there but the car park was big enough. The information boards are great, I have noticed these are a feature of many public places on the West Coast. The surf was loud, the tide was coming in. There is a board walk for the first part, along the sand dunes, not too well signposted at the end. I asked a guy coming back along the track where it led, he said “Through the jungle” and it almost was, it was very dense, thick and wet. The second part was under the one-way road bridge and over a lagoon and is an ancient kahikatea swamp. There were no birds but it is New Zealand as it once was. I could almost see the Moas wading through, looking for a bite to eat!
The next stop was Knight’s Point named, unusually, after the surveyor’s dog. Knight! It marks the place where the roads being constructed from the north met the road being constructed across the Haast Pass in 1the 1950s. The views from here are lovely and one was the cover photo for one of my previous blogs.
It’s strange the way the mind plays tricks. I was sure there were no huge, windy, slow hills between Haast and Fox and of course, Knight’s Point is at the top of one of them! It’s one of the more challenging section of the coast! It’s interest driving UP the coast having driven Down it twice this year. I have seen things I didn’t see.
I was annoyed to miss Munro’s Beach but there was no place to turn around for quite some time. Another “next time”. I still didn’t have cell coverage so couldn’t check on the phone or the blog. Paringa was the next stop and I couldn’t remember what it is I wanted to see and I had briefly considered freedom camping there(I have had internet and have checked, it is a “bird lovers paradise”). The 30 minutes I spent there were devoid of a single bird sighting. I did, however, chat to a very nice lady who was a member of the NZMCA as I am. Members are easily recognisable from the ‘wings’ and membership number on their vehicles or caravans. I am member 60600, so we are numerous.
Bruce Bay was not spectacular today, even the coffee cart wasn’t there but I did get some better photos of the stones and the trees. It is a nesting place for penguins but with a sea a little wild and the tide coming in I wasn’t brave enough to go wandering. I seem to have lost some of my recently discovered sense of adventure since the earthquake. 😦
I grabbed another shot of the Lady of the River” church. It’s not a spectacular church but seems to hold a fascination for many. It is an historic church, though I can’t find any history, and it is constructed from corrugated iron!
I stopped at Fox and was surprised to see the Glacier was closed, seemingly it was possible there had been a landslide/slip with all the rain. I couldn’t see any of the lovely views of the Southern Alps I saw on the way down, while it was fine, the cloud clung to the mountain.
There is a very windy, twisty, narrow section of road to traverse between Fox and Franz Joseph.
I drove around, deciding where to stay at Franz Joseph, I had a few places in mind. The one I chose had a gorgeous ginger cat lying on the counter. Good choice, Brutus allowed me to give him some pats.
“I have the most delightful park for the night. I am looking at a thick covering of natural forest and have a little stream too. There is a canopy of vegetation over me too. It’s like being in a cocoon.”
I walked into Franz Joseph and had a look at the shops, like tourists do, I quite like to play the tourist occasionally and constantly remind myself that’s what I am.
There was a group of NZMCA members staying near to me, celebrating a 50th birthday. They kindly asked me to join them, I declined. I am shy, not good in groups. They had a lovely time, having drinks and nibbles and lots of laughing. One of the guys came over to chat, as I was having my breakfast/lunch/dinner. He has a similar Ducato to mine and was keen to compare. We have different layout, his is similar to Lena’s. He had lost his wife last year and wasn’t keen on groups either but they were taking care of him. Lovely. ❤
The staff were having some fun 🙂
I went to sleep with the sound of the stream and the drips of moisture from the trees. It was really pleasant.