Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Driving the West Coast of New Zealand

We are still in New Zealand, traveling with our camper van, with one week until we fly to South America.  We are making haste to see Milford Sound and make it back to Christchurch for our flight. Today was simple.  We mainly drove over bumpy paved roads, stopping for occasional hikes and food. 

Our first break from driving was a short walk to Monro Beach, said to be inhabited by penguins.  We were not expecting to see these curious animals because by January the penguins have all left their breeding grounds.  We tramped our way along a well maintained trail past ferns and trees thriving with life.  In the distance, birds sang happy songs while the rest of the forest danced in the wind to the beautiful tunes.  After about half an hour, we emerged onto a beach different from other beaches we have visited in New Zealand.  Instead of big crashing waves, gentle swells washed up on the shore.  Instead of hard rocks and drift wood, this beach was only covered in glimmering sand that sent warm vibes from our feet to our relaxing bodies.  After discovering that the penguins had left on time, we turned our heads back to the trail.  Soon we were on the road again, now with a new desire.  Food!

Our bellies were rumbling and we were all hungry.  We had heard of an amazing place for lunch called the Cray Pot with good fish about half an hour off the main road.  We decided to go for it, but after a thirty minute drive we arrived to a sad site.  In the small fishing village of Jackson Bay, the Cray Pot restaurant was closed.  We were all disappointed as we drove back to the main road.  Still hungry, we stopped at a road side cafe for a gross lunch of deep fried fish over french fries, a Kiwi tradition called fish and chips.  An average lunch and no penguins.  Better luck next time!

For our last adventure of the day, we hiked to a river with amazing blue water.  The source of this river is pure glacial ice giving the water its color and clarity.  We hiked for about half an hour and came to a bridge looking down upon icy blue water.  I thought there was no way we were jumping in the cold water, but we all had our swim suits on and dubious expressions crossed over our faces.  We walked down to the side of the river.  “I’ll do it if you’ll do it,” my dad called to me.  I answered “yes” but after having felt the water on my hand a few seconds before, I was a wee bit nervous.  Splash “whoo ahhh HAND ME THE TOWELLLL!”  It was my turn.  Once underwater, sheer, bitter, cold was upon me.  It felt like someone was sticking needles into my skin.  I was shortly out and the jump was just a past memory.

We have finished the day and are staying just out side of the town of Wanaka, camped by a quiet stream.  For dinner, we ate an amazing meal of shakes and burgers bigger than my head.  I loved the day and am excited for the next few left to come.

Thank you for reading Rohan Geographic!   


  1. Hiking, swimming, eating...not a bad way to spend the day.

  2. What a good time you all are having! I looked up Milford sound. That place will be spectacular if you get to see it. I read that the rainfall total there is 268"/year with 28" in January! Good luck.

    Austin got 5" of rain last night. Hurray for drought stricken Central Texas.
    Love, Grandma Doris

    1. Ya, we have already experienced the rain at it's fullest...

      That's great about your rain! As many showers as you like! Ha Ha Ha