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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks and Franz Josef Glacier) (Poon Ni Kak Kie)

West Coast S Island
Heading out from Picton we head west via Blenheim thru the Marlborough wine growing region, an area that seems to have climatic and geographic similarities to the Okanogan. Here is where many of the best white wines from New Zealand are grown.

The weather is gorgeous as we head west and our primary destination are the geologic pancake rock formations. Near Westport we reach the west coast and it opens up and reminds us instantly of the Big Sur coastline in California. With temperatures around 27C we stop at the pancake rocks view centre. We could have photographed rock formations all day long.
Pancake Rocks
But with the weather so good we get excited about camping again and head south to Greymouth another 50-60 kms. down the road to a Top 10 Holiday park.

There we get a great campsite virtually on the beach and can listen to the roar of the waves all night long. We’ve bought lamb chops, potatoes and a veggie for supper as well as Marlborough wine and place them on the BBQ there. Quite the enjoyable meal. Lamb in NZ is fresh, reasonably priced (cheaper than beef), and very easy to cook and tastes incredible. It’s the first of several meals of lamb we have here.
Our Campsite

The Beach on the other side
More rock formations

More rock formations

Onward the next morning to Franz Josef glacier we arrive there about noon, grab a quick lunch and hike the 1 ½ hr loop into the Glacier. It’s a very nice site with lots of waterfalls along the way.Next we drive on to Fox Glacier and are less impressed with it in comparison. If you are going to need to pick we’d recommend Franz Josef.
Franz Josef Glacier

Us at Franz Josef

Example of the Beautiful falls

We had heard that there was a Top 10 Holiday park at Haast River but when we got there we found that the holiday parks there were substandard to what we became used to, and we were incorrectly told that the Top 10 one had flooded out. So we grabbed a quick hamburger from a fast food place there and started our drive toward Wanaka which I call Wanapouri incorrectly; stopping at a very pretty DOC campground at Pleasant Flats.
One lane bridges abound in NZ. on major highways,
this one at Pleasant Flats
There we met up with some Germans who were doing the reverse route to us so we talked for quite a while and learned lots from them in exchange.

This simple, pretty and quiet DOC (Dept of Conservation) campsite was only marred by the “mossy’s”, you guessed it, a type of mosquito, however it makes no noise, and is very small.  

Since we didn’t have the cooking facilities provided by the Top 10 type holiday parks we get up early and make our way first to Wanaka, then on to Queenstown, where due to a signage error on the highway I drive the last 25 kms on fumes only. Now we were encouraged on the N island to get a AA card for gas discounts. At $2.15/litre average cost you can see why. So I pull into the BP who together with Countdown food stores provides a double points credit I get $6 bucks off my gas bill, but still on $72.00 for 38 Ltrs. For a Toyota Corolla gas is steep. However using the “eco” mode on the vehicle I’m able to reduce fuel consumption from 8.0L to 6.6L over the 2070 kms I drive this vehicle.That’s pretty good fuel economy.

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