Up the West Coast

Trip Start Oct 16, 2007
Trip End May 09, 2008

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bye bye Southern Alps!  And onwards to Haast on the West Coast.  The weather still wasn't cooperating so we decided not to do any wildlife spotting around Haast, and headed north bound.  Our first stop was a salmon farm and café.  There were a couple of tour buses pulled up in front of it so we thought we'd check it out.  There were 4 tanks with salmon of
various sizes swimming in it.  The tanks seemed like such a small space for them to swim!  We bought some smoked salmon to try it out, and it was certainly one of the best smoked salmon I've had!  Guess those glacial waters they probably pump through from the nearby river helps the salmon to grow nice & strong (and yummy!)

Next stop was Fox Glacier.  We took a little walk that got us within 80m of the glacier face, which was pretty cool!  We then headed up one of the mountains adjacent to the glacier to get a view from above. But just after a few minutes hiking uphill, there was a sign saying that only guided groups were allowed on the path ahead, so we turned back.  By the time we got to Franz Joseph Glacier, it was quite late, around 8pm, so we did just a quick walk up hill to get a better view of the glacier.  

We decided to head out to the coast and camp in tiny Okarito, population 30-ish, and kayak in the lagoon the next day.  Okarito lagoon is NZ's 'largest unmodified wetland' according to our guidebook, and it has lots of channels to explore and to check out wild birdlife.
Unfortunately that night at the campground, all we had were rain and black flies, which continued through the morning. So we decided to bag our lagoon kayak trip and hoped we could get some kayaking later when we reached Abel Tasman National Park . 
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