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Jan 13
2015

Cool Little Town

We left Nelson and drove south to Hokitika, a "Cool Little Town" close to Arthurs Pass. The way is beautiful and the Paparoa National Park was our next stop on the way. The coast line is truly amazing but one section is so unique that it got a name of its own, The Pancake Rocks. A weird rocks formation can be seen after a short walk from state highway 6. Be sure you have enough fuel for this route section, there are no gas stations in this area.

Paparoa National Park - Pancake Rocks Paparoa National Park - Pancake Rocks

Paparoa National Park - Pancake Rocks Paparoa National Park - Pancake Rocks

Paparoa National Park - Pancake Rocks Paparoa National Park - Pancake Rocks

Paparoa National Park - Pancake Rocks Paparoa National Park - Pancake Rocks

We finished our day at Hokitika. We plannedon going to the Avalanche Peak one day track, but the weather had other plans for us. A little brochure summarize the attractions near Hokitika and the Hokitika Gorge looked promising. After a 30 minutes drive from Hokitika's center we found the gorge and it was gorgeous. Even though it was a cloudy day the color of this gorge was amazing.

Hokitika Gorge Hokitika Gorge

Not too far, we found the Dorothy Falls. A 13 seconds walk will get you to the waterfall. Wekas are looking for food in this area so you probably see them if you wait long enough.

Dorothy Falls, Hokitika Dorothy Falls, Hokitika

Dorothy Falls, Hokitika Dorothy Falls, Hokitika

Hokitika is a cool little town in terms of little attractions as the brochure stated, but don't expect to find anything to eat between 3 to 5 pm or much to do in this small town, but fuel up, because the fuel is very expensive on your next stop in the south. The weather didn't get better. We decided to skip the track and head to the glaciers.

We got to Franz Josef glacier first. The mood was like the weather, but missing the glacier's sights wasn't a possibility. The next stop was at Fox, hoping for the rain to stop and the sky to clear according to the forcast, we decided to spend some time at Fox. At last, the rain eased and we went seeing the Fox glacier as well. The glaciers were not too impressive, I guess we came a few years too late. The signs shows you where the glacier was at 2008 and where it is today. Bit sad and disappointing.

Franz Josef Glacier Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier Franz Josef Glacier

Fox Glacier Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier Fox Glacier

5:00 am was not an hour we woke up in before in this trip but the hope of seeing lake matheson and Mount Cook's famous reflection at sunrise got us out of bed. After a 10 minutes drive we found an empty carpark, but surprisingly it wasn't as dark as I thought it will be. We walked about 20 minutes in the bush around the lake to get to the first lookout. The lake is a perfect mirror. The clouds covered the mountains and we didn't see Mount Cook nor any sunrise colors. We did walk to the second lookout around the lake but in my opinion it wasn't as beautiful as the first one. Tip: take flies repellent, the sand flies likes this hour of the day.

Lake Matheson Lake Matheson

Another tip: the gas is pretty expensive at Fox but not as expensive as you'll find on the way to wanaka. It's a long way so get enough fuel before living Fox.

The way from Fox to Wanaka crosses Haast Pass and there are lots of places to stop and take some good photos. You can find short walks along the way. I wouldn't recommend the one who says "Haast Pass lookout (30 minutes return)" . It's quite a climb and the view isn't worth it. I will definitely recommend the waterfalls (2 minutes walk) and the Blue Pools (30 minutes return).

Haast - State Highway 6 Haast - State Highway 6

Haast - State Highway 6 Haast - State Highway 6

Haast - State Highway 6 Haast - State Highway 6

Haast - State Highway 6 Haast - State Highway 6

Haast - State Highway 6 Haast - State Highway 6

Blue Pools - State Highway 6 Blue Pools - State Highway 6

Blue Pools - State Highway 6 Blue Pools - State Highway 6

Haast - State Highway 6 Haast - State Highway 6

As you can see in the photos, the weather got better as we got closer to Wanaka.

State Highway 6 State Highway 6

State Highway 6 State Highway 6

State Highway 6 State Highway 6

We'll spend the next few days in Wanaka, lots of day tracks and ice cream coming soon.