Driving north from Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

After our return from the Milford Sound we started to make our way north along the West Coast, our ultimate destination being the north Island. We did want to take a bit of time to explore everything along the way, though.

First we had to get to the places we hadn't been too, though. That meant driving back to Queenstown, through Wanaka and Lake Hawea and then on towards Haast Pass. The idea was to stay at DOC Campsites on the way as much as possible, saving a few bucks and keeping to the simple lifestyle we had come in enjoy.

On our way back through Queenstown we picked up some cheap plastic plates at a dollar store, so that we could finally each eat from our own plates - after sharing the pot for the last two months. What luxury!

A TA Hiker reunion

We then continued on, driving past Wanaka, where we picked up a german hitchhiker and Te Araroa Walker who was trying to get back to Hawea after buying new shoes. Since we had to stop in Hawea to drop him off, we also went in for another super price value double scoop of ice cream at the general store. Right after that we got news of our friends Ryan and Rebecca, who were currently staying in Wanaka, so we drove back there to meet them again before our paths would split for good.

It is so good meeting your trailmates again! In just a short time a lot of stuff happens, and it’s nice to catch up. But after a beer, a burger and a nice chat we had to part ways again and got back into our car to drive up towards Haast Pass. It was late already, so we pulled into a DOC Campground once we had driven past Lake Wanaka to continue our journey the next morning.

Haast Pass Road

The next morning we woke up in our car and then were lucky to witness an absolutely stunning sunrise during breakfast.

Afterwards we continued along the SH6 towards Haast Pass. Along the road there is an abundance of beautiful spots to visit. We started off stopping at almost every single one that we came by, but then soon realized that we would never get anywhere that way, so we restricted ourselves to stop only every so often.

The Blue Pools

Our first stop were the Blue Pools – incredible clear, blue-ish colored pools formed in a river. As so many other natural highlights in New Zealand easily accessible by a great little walk with a bridge across the pools. We could see fish swimming below us, it was really stunning.

The Fantail Falls

The next stop were the Fantail Falls. They were nice, but even more interesting were the rock cairns built by the visitors of the landmark. Someone must have started it, and then everybody seems to have put up a little rock cairn by themselves.

We debated for a moment whether it was a good tradition and if we wanted to take part in it. But I couldn't help but face challenge of even finding a spot to put my rock cairn. So I made a really tiny one that I could fit in a little nook.

Further on we stopped less often, but took a lot more short walks through forest. Then we crossed over Haast Pass and the landscape changed – we finally saw the ocean again. The vegetation and even the climate seemed to change as well and our next stops were along the coastline instead of dense forest. New Zealand ist just so incredibly diverse.


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