March 16, 2018 – Punakaiki, New Zealand
When we got to Wanaka in the morning it was packed with hundreds of people. Who knows what they were all doing there. We opted on visiting a local Lavender farm (my cousin from Canada knows the wife of the owner, unfortunately she wasn’t there when we visited) which was super relaxing and the place was beautifully set and decorated.
Our journey continued by crossing the Haast Pass that leads to the West Coast. I had planned to hike to the so-called Blue Pools but it was pouring rain by the time we got there. After talking to those who had just returned from that hike we chose not to do it – they were all soaking wet and told us that due to the heavy rain the pools were in fact not really blue. The rain continued during the night and it felt like an entire waterfall was pouring on our camper. Joe checked in the middle of the night if our vehicle had already turned into a boat but we were still safe.
We visited both Fox and Franz Josef Glacier (we liked Franz Josef much better) before heading to Punakaiki to see the Pancake Rocks with a short stop in Hokitika in between.
New Zealand’s west coast can be summed up as wild and beautiful. The cliffs are steep, the ocean is rough, cell phone coverage or internet is non existent for hundreds of kilometers and it feels like driving through the jungle the entire time. What is bothering though are the millions of sandflies that stick to you like crazy. There were times when we did not leave the camper because they would have eaten us alive. We are hoping that it gets better now that we are leaving this part of New Zealand.