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» soul searching road trip oznz – day 6 (11/06/2010)
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» soul searching road trip oznz – day 9 (14/06/2010)
▼ good morning!
that morning we left deco backpackers at 8:30 am and queenstown was a bit cloudy so i didn’t take any photos. the temp was 4°c. we left the town and its suburbs soon after and i kept looking for a fuel station to fill up the tank. i drove through sh6 again but since there was no fuel station in sight, i turned left towards the town of arrowtown, a historic gold mining town where we circumnavigated the town (famous for its well preserved architectural buildings) twice before giving up the fuel station quest and returned back (about 10 km each way) to frankton to refuel. yes the town was nice and everything but at the time i was preoccupied with finding the petrol and we still had a long way to go.
we restarted our journey for the day by entering the crown range road, the highest paved road in new zealand, off from the sh6 going northbound cutting through the cardrona mountains. the uphill road was really narrow and it zigzagged through a steep terrain until there was an opening for me to pull over. the views to the south were engaging to say the least as we had the opportunity to observe the remarkables from the eastern side. then the road climbed steadily until we were again in a snow territory and i had to be extra careful of the narrow and slippery road. there was no side road area for stopping and none of the few cars that we met along the way put on the snow chains so neither did i. when the road reaches the highest point, it gradually descends alongside the cardrona river with the road and the river sandwiched between the crown range on our left and the griffel range on our right and there we took a quick stop at cardrona valley with its famous historical hotel. after continuing downhill for about 40 minutes, we could see a large blue lake right in front of us to reveal that we had arrived at lake wanaka.
▼▼ deco backpackers
▼ zack with cardrona hotel and its old vintage chrysler
when we came to a t-junction that signified the end of the crown range road, i decided to detour our route to the left (westbound) which would bring us to glendhu bay, about 10 km west of wanaka town as during my online research, many travellers favoured the secluded bay that provided serene views of tititea/mt. aspiring and other scenic mountains compared to views from the more famous spot near the town. the small carpark near wanaka track, glendhu bay was totally empty and when i positioned the car and stopped the engine, everybody was asleep. i woke up zack and whispered to her that i wanted to hike up the track just to see what’s on the other side. zack said ok and i left walking slowly through the cold morning track for about 100m before it opened into a wide views of the lake, treble cones and lo and behold, the mighty peak of tititea/mt. aspiring, at 3,033m, the highest mountain in new zealand outside of mt. cook range. i was lucky that day as the giant was known to be quite shy to show its peak by hiding behind clouds.
▼ glendhu bay – wanaka track entrance
while walking back towards the car, i met zack who came alone halfway through the track. i put the dslr on a large boulder near the edge of the lake and we took a rare photo together, with lake wanaka and the treble cones as a backdrop. i also took a photo of zack that i am still proud to this day, not sure why except that i like the way she posed, a beauty surrounded by the beauty of nature, two things i love dearly.
▼ my favourite pic
while returning to the car, both of us could hear the screaming sounds coming from alif and yomi. both of them were crying since waking up a few minutes earlier and found none of us were there while ija and aina were not able to pacify them. during the drive back towards wanaka town, they stopped crying and became fascinated and impressed by the large black cattles grazing on the steep grassy slopes of roy’s peak, 1,581m above sea level. just a few hundred meters before the town, we turned left and entered a gravel road towards the famous roy’s bay, lake wanaka. all of us got out of the car where zack brought alif inside the public toilet for a much needed break (for alif) and ija, aina, yomi and i strolled quietly to the waterfront of lake wanaka with a stretch of pebbly beach, adorned with the scenic tall poplars fringing up the shore. from the southern shore, we could see the snow covered rob roy peak (2,606m), mt. avalanche (2,591m) and the buchanan peaks (1,882m). the weather was crispy clear, the time was 11:00 am and the temp was 5°c. i took some photos of the brilliant landscape all the while observing supposedly some locals jogging with their dogs along the beach.
▼ on the shore of lake wanaka
▼▼ spectacular scenery
20 minutes later, we were back inside our car and moved slowly past wanaka town, another resort town but smaller than and not as famous as its otago counterpart, queenstown. 2.5 km east of the town, still along sh6, i found the large compound for our next stop, the wanaka’s puzzling world. it was one of the few attractions that we were willing to pay some cash to get into. i didn’t go in but let the others enjoy their time and gave the dslr to zack. while they were inside, i just sit in the car, went out a few times for smoking intervals but too cold to stay far too long. about 30 minutes in, i heard a familiar cry from inside the wooden fence separating the car and the maze on the other side. it was yomi’s who got lost and decided to let everybody hear her distress signal. zack gave up taking photos and passed the camera over the fence to me and went to get yomi.
▼ stuart landsborough’s puzzling world
▼▼ illusions room
▼ another misplaced hobbit
when they came out 1 hour later, everybody was talking about what a joy the place was, from the exciting exhibitions, illusions rooms, oddities to the confusing maze. even alif (and maybe yomi) enjoyed it. soon we set out again, going towards the north via sh6. the highway runs along the neck of land between lake wanaka on the left (west) and lake hawea on the right (east). i stopped once for a photo opportunity to capture lake hawea and the surrounding mountains. alif complained again about needing to go to the loo and i started looking for another rest area where i could park the car. we found one, near boundary creek, 35 km north of wanaka town, on the shoreline of the northern end of lake wanaka. while zack tended alif, i brought yomi to the pebbly shore and put her on a boulder while snapping more photos of her with mt. albert, at 2,057m on the other shore across lake wanaka. she looked awkwardly strange because of the coldness i guess (it was 4°c) but i kept chuckling whenever i looked at her pic later on.
▼ lake hawea with corner peak at 1,661m
▼ yomi at lake wanaka and mt. albert
▼ at boundary creek
we continued our trip towards the north on sh6 by passing lake wanaka and the small town of makarora through mt. aspiring national park. the vegetation along the way became drastically more subtropical, native, wet and dense compared to the dry swaths of otago region. we were approaching the west coast region and we needed to cross the southern alps first to get there. while we were in the process, i found a sign showing the track direction to the blue pools of haast pass, a famous scenic azure blue pools that were fed by the melted glacier. i pressed the brake, parked the car and told zack that i wouldn’t be out for long. zack said ok as everybody except her were sleeping. i walked enthusiastically about 20m towards the track entrance and could see the sign more clearly which stated that a one way trip would take 45 minutes, to return back, i needed at least 2 hours and our tight schedule did not permit that. it was already 2:00 pm. feeling kind of sad, i returned quietly to the car, started the engine and moved away from the place. about 30 minutes later, we arrived at another scenic stop, this time it was thunder creek falls of haast river that traverses the southern alps between haast and haast pass. i went out alone again, walked about 100m through a winding track among the lush podocarp jungle. i could hear the sound of water crashing at the bottom of the falls were getting louder but realized soon that it was too far and still the falls was nowhere in sight. again i gave up and walked back to the carpark and resumed my driving.
▼ haast river
▼ thunder creek falls info
driving through haast pass, as it is known, was quite an enjoyable and enthralling experience. it was quite wet, cold and the mountain top was less snowy than the previous mountains we had left behind. we slowly left the mountains and the road started to go downhill along haast river. everybody was quiet and their faces showed a hint of sadness of what they missed on those previous days. we exited the highway and entered haast township for lunch takeaways. the town was small and almost non-existant but we found a decent fish and chip shop where zack and ija went inside to order our lunch. after filling our hungry stomachs, we moved out of the town and re-entered sh6 and crossed haast river near the coast using a one lane road bridge, the longest in new zealand at 737m. i snapped a few pics on the banks of the river, under the bridge after crossing it. then we cruised along the banks of the west coast along the tasman sea where i stopped again for less than 5 minutes to snap more pictures of the blue sea at knights point with its rugged coastline, typical of the west coast region. from then on i didn’t stop at all until we reached fox glacier and our car turned into the narrow road towards the glacier.
▼ getting lunch at haast township
▼ haast bridge over haast river with mark range at background
▼ native trees along the west coast
▼ the tasman sea and arnott point from knights point
the small turnoff lane runs about 2.5 km from sh6 geared towards the glacier, while dimly lit alongside fox river under the tiered canopy of trees. when we arrived at the gravelled carpark, there were few cars from other travellers parked as well. from there we could see the glacier, our first, and had to walk by crisscrossing the river through rocky and moraine paths towards the glacier terminus for 1 km. it looked very close, but after walking for about 30 minutes, the glacier only seemed slightly bigger and much further away. we also greeted other returning travellers whom we met along the way. the two kids were of course on our shoulders again and out of breath, with fox glacier coming into full view, we stopped, (after 50 minutes of tramping on the rocky path), took countless photos and retreated back to our car. reaching our car, the sun was almost set and i drove slowly towards the main highway, going northwards again for 45 km until we entered the town of franz josef glacier where our lodging for the night awaited us. our host for the night, yha hostel was easily found and i let zack did all the registration and even requested for a room upgrade while the rests were still waiting inside the heated car. she got back later with a small map containing direction to the nearest mart. the mart, another four square supermarket, is only next to the highway and zack, ija and aina shopped all the necessary stuff for our dinner.
▼ fox glacier carpark
▼ tramping through the moraine path
▼▼▼ fox glacier terminus
▼ completing the track
▼ almost dark at the carpark
i drove them back to yha, checked in, and let the three of them cooked at the hostel kitchen while i looked after alif and yomi. soon they brought some cooked rice, broccoli tomyam, mushroom & cheese omelette and tuna for our dinner. we ate, the ladies cleaned the dishes, we alternately took baths at the shared toilet and thereafter i went outside for a couple of smokes. the temperature was freezing near 2°c, my nose running with fluids of all kinds, i shakily got back inside the room and after travelling for more than 380 km that day, i finally dozed off.
▲ good night
next» soul searching road trip oznz – day 11 (16/06/2010)