Home > Uncategorized > Hokitika to Queenstown (Day Two)

Hokitika to Queenstown (Day Two)

February 21, 2010

Sleep that night was fine. It was my first time ever sleeping outside on the ground, as well as camping (crazy, right?!) I woke up refreshed and feeling great. In fact, even the cold that I had previously was starting to fade!

It was then that we discovered that our tent roof was covered with dew, both on the inside and the outside. While it didn’t drip on us at all, this did hinder our ability to dry it out, since we wanted to pack up quickly and take off. We didn’t turn the tent inside-out, which would have been incredibly intelligent. Instead, we just rolled it up, leaving it completely soaked for that night, and leaving us without a dry place to sleep.

We woke up, ate some more peanut butter bread, and set out. We had a lot of driving ahead of us that day (at least 9 hours), so we needed to get started early. We made our way down the coast, stopping a few times along the way to take some excellent pictures. One of my favorite pictures (above) was early in the morning. We were down in a valley with mountains up ahead and fog in the distance, and it made it look almost like Jurassic Park. It was epic.

We also made a stop at the Franz Josef Glacier, one of the biggest glaciers in New Zealand. The town of Franz Josef itself had Monteith’s Brewery, an excellent brewery where we bought a pack of Summer Ale for the rest of our camping.

The glacier itself was awesome. It’s weird to think that these giant blocks of ice a) have been around for tens of thousands of years or more and b) still stick around through blistering hot summers. They’re THAT thick. Walking up to it took much longer than you’d think, because it looked so close even though it was quite far away. It didn’t seem to get much closer as you walked, either, because it was so
big and so distant. (Ok, it wasn’t that far, but it felt like it). Lena even grabbed a piece of glacier ice that was floating in the water. It was weird having such a big piece of ice in the middle of summer.

After leaving the glacier, we continued through a few other small (read: Population 24) towns, but mostly were out in the middle of the mountains. (“Warning! Last gas for 70 km!”). It was really nice to be out there with almost no one around, but a little nerve-wracking too. If you were to crash, there was no one around to come to your aid, and no cell phone reception for tens of miles.

We passed a beautiful, rich blue lake on the way to Queenstown. Every body of water in New Zealand seems to have a different color of blue to it. Some of the bays are electric blue, the lakes are a mixture of deep blue and just general blue, the glacier pools are silty grey, they oceans are Caribbean aquamarine, and we even saw a pool that was red because of the plants growing in it (stay tuned for that later on).

We made it in to Queenstown and started looking for a place to eat. We wanted to grab something quick (and weren’t about to rely on peanut butter bread for the fifth meal in a row). We found a restaurant that, although it was a bit fancier than we first though, had delicious, reasonably priced seafood chowder. Instead of the clam, lobster, and shrimp seafood chowder we’re used to back in the States, this had squid, octopus, prawn, mussels, and more. It was very tasty.

We made our way to Moke Lake, about 5 minutes on the main road and another 20 on a gravel road out of Queenstown. We attempted to set up tent, but, finding out rent to be soaking wet on the inside, opted to sleep in the car instead.

PS: I finally got Flickr to work, though it takes forever to upload. I’ve uploaded the first two days worth of pictures from the trip. I’ve included a slideshow below, as well as a link to the full album.
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