These Past Few Weeks I’ve Enjoyed A Chance To Re-visit Areas Of New Zealand
How often do kiwis take for granted the beauty New Zealand has to offer? I know I’m as guilty of this as anyone else. With our busy lives we forget to take precious moments to stop and look around us.
The arrival of a dear friend from Tennessee a few weeks ago has forced me to rethink when I last took time to enjoy myself in my own country. Without much consultation with her, I planned and booked a trip around where I consider the most beautiful region of New Zealand is. Yep, you guessed it, the south.
It’s not going to be difficult to come up with a few tales from our journey. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them. Not that I need to do this in a chronological order but let’s start with our arrival on the West Coast.
Despite Kathleen having a horrendous cold and feeling quite miserable off we flew to Christchurch at an hour when most sensible people are still tucked up in their beds. I didn’t want to waste time showing her how delightful our country is and I guessed flying while it was still dark meant we weren’t losing any daylight viewing time. We’d signed up our rental car – a zippy Mazda Demio – and were off on our adventure by 9am. Wow! Great start.
I’d planned to head from Christchurch through Arthur’s Pass to Hokitika, then we’d drive down the West Coast past the glaciers and back through Haast Pass to Alexandra where we had accommodation with my nephew and his family. Luckily we’d checked out accommodation options prior to beginning this trip. Despite numerous hotels, motels and camping ground cabins available in Franz Josef and Fox areas, unless we were willing to pay $400-500+ for the night (my Scottish heritage balked at this) we weren’t going to find anywhere to sleep around there on the particular night we wanted. So we’d booked a room at the Whataroa Hotel to ensure we had a bed. Whataroa is on the outskirts of Tai Poutini National Park.
The dreaded weather forecast unfortunately soon proved reliable. By the time we’d headed into Arthur’s Pass the beautiful day had disappeared and any thought of stopping along the way to show Kathleen the amazing scenery slipped away. Going through Otira Gorge waterfalls were beginning to appear where I suspect none had been the day before. With those window wipers slapping time – can you tell I’m a fan of Kris Krisoffersen? – and the demisters going full throttle I drove very carefully, and real slow according to my American friend to our hotel. We ignored (more like couldn’t see) any beauty as we drove through the torrential rain.
There was a short break in the rain while at Whataroa, allowing us a quick walk to stretch our legs, but thunder and lightning and the ever present rain, continued for much of the night. It was reported over 400ml would fall during our visit to the area. Eager to sample as much of our local cuisine as possible, Kathleen had her first taste of whitebait for dinner that evening. I don’t think she was too enthused with this delicacy.