Home made Yorkshire puddings!

Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
Trip End Feb 27, 2006

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Haast Pass that heads inland from the west coast has a leaflet dedicated to it - a sure sign that it's not your average, run of the mill road. Just like the Milford Road, there are numerous beauty spots along it, whether it be a spectacular waterfall or an amzing lookout. I'd already travelled along it twice before, but the first time was by bus and the second time was with Charlotte and we were pushed for time. On this occasion, we had all the time in the world and shock horror...there was even some blue sky up above!

After a quick wander along the beach in Haast, we set off on the road to Wanaka. The recent rain had created waterfalls all along the side of the road, although none were as spectacular as the one at our first stop off. A 15 minute bush walk brought us out into an immense valley, with the Roaring Billy Waterfall crashing down high above the Haast River. I could just imagine a scene from Lord of the Rings being set there, such was the scale of the place. Stu wandered off miles into the distance, much to mine and Mum's amusement, in the hope of capturing this magnitude in a photograph. It is difficult, and you really have to be there to appreciate it in its entirety.

A few kilometres further on, we pulled over and did an easy 5 minute walk to the Thunder Creek Falls. This 28 metre high waterfall was less impressive than the Roaring Billy, but it was still spectacular. I wandered down to the river for a closer view, before we set off again as we had another waterfall to see...the Fantail Falls. Yet again it was stunning, and perhaps we'd been lucky to catch all the waterfalls so soon after the rain deluge of the previous days.

Strangely, the next attraction wasn't marked on the leaflet, yet it was probably my favourite. We saw a few cars parked at the side of the road, and we wondered what the commotion was. It soon became clear when we crossed the bridge, as we saw thunderous rapids flowing on either side of us. Stu and me walked back over the bridge and headed down a track for a close up view. They were amazing, so fierce and powerful. We must have watched for 10-15 minutes as it was a great sight, but we eventually returned to the car as I wanted us to do the Cameron Creek Walk...

This '20 minutes return' walk was probably a bit longer than that, particularly as it was uphill on the way. It was worth it though, as we came to a viewing platform overlooking the Makarora Valley and surrounding mountain peaks, some of which had a covering of snow. We were over 500 metres above sea level at this stage, and these peaks didn't seem too far above us.

This walk was the last of our planned stops, and we'd timed it to perfection as it soon started raining afterwards. We had a break at a nice roadside cafe in Makarora, before continuing on the road that provided great views of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. Stu thought that the latter was the sea as the mist made the overlooking mountains invisible to the eye. This despite the fact that we were now in the middle of the South Island, a fact that Mum had great pleasure in pointing out! They'll be well blessed when I'm in Brisbane...

I'd not booked us into any accommodation in Wanaka due to the lack of a phone signal in Okuru, so I scrolled through my motel book and found a couple of possibles. I called the Bay View Motel first, and their family units sounded very nive, so I went ahead and booked it. One problem...it was $200 a night, more than any of our other stays so far. Mum raised an eyebrow when I told her the cost, but as it was our last couple of nights together, they thought what the hell...and I'd not disappointed them so far!

A 5 minute drive around Roy's Bay brought us to the motel in question, and it lived up to expectations...and more! It was lovely and spacious, with a more equipped kitchen, and the view was superb, overlooking the lake with mountains all around. The forecast was for fine weather the next day, so I envisaged relaxing on the verandah, and giving Mum a chance to work on her tan! It sounded good to me.

The fact that it was more expensive, coupled with our nice kitchen, meant that we were eating in that night, and Stu and me were in for a real treat...home made Yorkshire puddings! So we headed off to town for an hour or so, with me splitting up from Mum and Stu while they looked around the shops. Mum bought all the ingredients for the meal, including the all important (huge) Yorkshire pudding tray, and we were all set up.

Back at the motel, we took advantage of the complimentary hot spa, and I soaked in there for a good 40 minutes. I felt refreshed as I headed back to the room, although a glimpse of someone getting out of the spa later on indicated that we should have been more careful getting changed! The windows were more transparent than we'd thought...

The real highlight of the day came afterwards, as Mum had done it again...she'd somehow managed to make near perfect Yorkshire puddings at the first attempt! Back home, I eat them about 3 times a week, so tasting my first one in 9 months was like a dream! The veg and chicken casserole weren't bad either, and not forgetting a donut to finish - I was being spoiled! I suppose I was taking advantage of it as I knew that in just 2 short days, I'd be beans on toasting it again!

We had a relaxing evening and watched Ethan's dvd again, before I had a nice long shower, possibly the best one I've had in New Zealand, i.e. it wasn't one of those where 'boiling hot' and 'freezing cold' are your only options!

Looking out from our front window the next morning, way out in the distance, we could see Mount Iron in all its glory...and I wanted us to walk to the summit. We'd drove past it the previous day, but Mum replied "I'm not!" when I told her my plans to walk up it. However, it was a beautiful day and I could remember how rewarding it was, with panoramic views once you reached the top. So that was that - we were doing some exercise in the morning, and relaxing in the afternoon...

We saw lots of rabbits on the 45 minute hike up to the top, which briefly took our minds off how tough the walk was. We had plenty of breathers though, and even though Mum and Stu called me a "slavedriver" at times, I knew it would be worth it. Anyway, they should both be fit after all that walking on the Abel Tasman and Queen Charlotte tracks!

Sure enough, they were both impressed with the views when we reached the summit. I was familiar with the surroundings after plummeting towards them from 12000 feet on my last visit! We got great views of the lake and mountains, as well as the actual township of Wanaka that seemed a lot bigger from up high. Both Mum and Stu agreed that they were glad that they'd done it...to my relief!

Just as I'd hoped, the sun shone all afternoon so we spent some time relaxing on the verandah. We briefly went into town as I needed a few essentials for my trip to Brisbane, with factor 30 suncream being top of the list.

In the evening, we enjoyed a repeat performance of the previous night...including Yorkshire puddings! We raised our glasses before dining, toasting what had been a memorable 15 days together. It had been lovely seeing Mum and Stu again, and I'd booked them into some nice places for the proceeding nights (Hilltop in Papatowai and Freestone Backpackers in Manapouri) so that they'd continue to enjoy the New Zealand experience without me. As for me, I had to pack my things together ahead of my latest jaunt to Oz, this time to see Oasis in Brisbane...
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