The West Coast, South Island - nothing to report

Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
Trip End Mar 23, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Saturday, January 12, 2013

The exertions around Abal Tasman were the last for a while and our main aim now is to head South towards the glaciers at Franz Josef and Fox. The first leg was about halfway to Punakaiki to see the "pancake rocks". We stopped awhile at Westport and decided that we hadn't needed to bother and then we popped in to see the seal sanctuary at Cape Foulwind/Touranga Bay - not as impressive as the seal colony on Lundy! - and finished the leg by late afternoon and booked into the Punakaiki Beach Resort, not entirely aptly named for a backpackers hostel! I was suffering an ingress of water into my tent so we selected pitches sheltered from the incoming waves, gales and general weather by the hostel itself. It sounds awful but in fact it was pretty good. The atmosphere in the hostel was quiet and relaxed and the location was right on the beach. We read a bit and cooked up a feast of chicken fajitas. Oh, and consumed a couple of beers! Towards morning, it started to rain and the need for some maintenance on the tent fabric bacame the most important issue. So on the Sunday, after checking out the unusual features of the pancake rocks - sadly no blowholes erupting though, we renewed our search for "fabsil" by driving south through appalling rain to Greymouth, and grey it was!. Do you know on Sundays in New Zealand most shops don't open at all and the ones that do close at 1pm. We found fabsil at a "Wickes" type store which also had a fine cafeteria serving splendid coffee, muffins and wi-fi. That wasted an hour or so during terrible rain. And then we headed south. We're currently set up in a the back garden of another backpacker hostel in Franz Josef. We're booked onto the 2.50pm helicopter tomorrow up to the top of the Fox Glacier. That blew the budget, I tell you!! But that's really about it for now so I'm going off on a rant!

Sandflies, bloody sandflies!!! They must be the most infuriating insect on earth. My ankles look like pin cushions and (note for Roberta:) though my calves are approaching "iron man" dimensions, my ankles are tending more towards "Mr. Blobby"!

The fabsil has been applied and I am now praying for three hours without rain (fat chance!) so it will work! We currently have a tarpaulin rigged over the top of the tent, much like mobile mechanics might have when respraying the front of your car on the drive! I'm guessing though that my night will either be (a) wet or (b) disturbed by a gale flapping the tarp around..... (and we have neighbours on the next pitches. Perhaps better to take the tarp down before bedtime and just get wet!)

A little note to Louise here. Thanks for the comment. Sadly we missed the road you mentioned as we "cut the corner off". It sounds fantastic though I'm pretty sure that if we'd done it, we'd have seen absolutely zilch through the mist today....

So a quiet one today. Hopefully the next one might be worth looking at with a report of climbing glaciers or whatever....
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Jane on

There's a distinct look of Blaenau here! Homely then! Hopefully the mist & rain will clear in time for the glacier trip!

Pauline on

Fantastic photos so and a beautiful island-makes me want to visit

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