From north to south but not just travel this time. We combined it with some touristy stuff. The distance from Westport to Franz Josef is not that great so there was plenty of time for fun stuff. The road trip is only 5 hours. At Franz Josef we want to see the glacier. We’d like to stay for 2 nights there. Our intention is to get to Queenstown or Wanaka, but it is to far to do it in one go and we are no fan of traveling two days in a row. So we decided to split the trip.
So we left Westport around 10. State Highway 6 is splendid. Not even 100 years old. It meanders itself through mountains and where possible the coast, SO’s drriving in the mountains is become more certain, he is even starting to like it. Practice makes perfect. At a certain point we past a beautiful view point. 4 Km later we turned around and we really felt we wanted pictures of that spot. It was worth it. On one side a view of beaches and sea. The other side are rocks that break the sea. The view was amazing and again the camera was doing overtime.
Our scheduled stop were the pancake rocks. It is a little hidden and you cant really see it from the road. SO therefore had no clue what we were stopping for He assumed that it was a pancake restaurant or something. As we waled from the road to the rocks and the plateau surrounding them he was suitably impressed. As the tide was low the blowholes did not show their best sides but it was still noisy and impressive. The noise comes from deep and envelopes you. It is horrible and wonderful all at the same time. To swim there is an invitation to win this years Darwin awards. The currents are incredibly strong and the rocks pretty darn hard. If we had wanted to see the blowholes in action we would ahve had to wait another 3 hours at least. We did not feel that this was right for us so we continued south.
We had lunch in Greymouth and as we were ahead of schedule we decided to tour the Monteith Brewery there in Greymouth. It is/was one of the largest breweries on the South Island. Though no brewing was going on it was fun to see the brewery and learn more about the process. Occasionally our tourguide needed some information form people on the workfloow as we had some difficult questions for her. One of the best parts was the boiler room where we talked to Foxy the boiler man. It is a really old boiler. Foxy adds the coals (yes really) to the boiler. Next to it should really be in a museum, but it is the back up for the slightly less old one. Foxy did look like a real boiler man. Black with grime and coals streaks but with bright sparkly eyes. Eyes that sparkle even more when he talks about his machines. What a character.
From greymouth it is not that far to Franz Josef and that is where we are now. There isn;t much here apart from the glacier. Well given that that is why we hare here (and possibly the hotpools) The weather here is looking not very good as dark clouds are asembling We’ll see what tomorrow brings. So all in all the tourist travel day was a success. We are also planning the next stage. We are looking at a stay of 3-4 days on the next leg, just to get some rest again.