Haast to Okarito
Trip Start Jan 22, 2013
57Trip End Mar 18, 2013
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Drove back north a couple of hours to Fox Glacier and walked almost a mile up to the face of it. We’ve seen glay-sea-er’s , Karen likes how they pronounce glaciers, before and this one wasn’t a whole lot different, except you could walk up to it, as do 10,000 people each day apparently
From there we headed further north, inland of the coast, and passed thru more rain forest and saw many large lakes. The highway at times is very winding with hairpin curves and then straight sections. It’s a challenging drive for the 3-5 hrs a day we take. Today we decided not to venture up to the Franz Josef Glacier. In the town it was raining pretty hard and what we’ve read is that Fox Glacier is better or hiking to. Hopefully we didn’t miss much, but there’s so much to see here. It’s all about the beauty of nature and the water, mountains, and forests. How they can stuff so much of it into one fairly small country I don’t know. It’s just not fair!
Tonight we stayed in Okarito at a non-powered campground within a 5 minute walk across the grassy airstrip to the beach on the Tasman Sea. I had read about this place in Outside Magazine, and specifically about the huge lagoon here with over 70 varieties of birdlife. When we checked in with the kayak rental shop (the only business in this village other than another outfitter and a B & B), we realized we didn’t stop at the grocery store in Franz Josef
I went for long walk on the beach after our chicken, bacon, mozzarella tortellini dinner. Probably walked a couple of miles. Unlike the beaches at home, this one has absolutely NO litter. Since there is nobody here I had the mile of beach to myself. I found some interesting sea worn rock formations and so much small driftwood. We had a short campfire before it started to rain again. A young couple in a Toyota mini van parked next to us. He came over and helped with the fire by pulling dead palm fronds off the tree next to the campfire. He was from Berlin.
There was also a Flying Kiwi tour bus that pulled into the campground with about 20 people. Their bus pulled a wood trailer outfitted with bike racks, gas cooking facilities, etc. They set up ten 2-person tents, cooked, had a beach fire, and by 8 am the next day were gone. It’s a 27 day trip but people can join in for whatever amount of time they want. They ride bikes, walk, run, or just ride the bus.
Again, since i got way ahead of myself, you've already seen some photos of this leg, but here are a few more.