Saturday, December 5, 2009

NZ - The West Coast

This morning was fantastic – the best I’ve had yet.  That’s mostly because I could see the sun.  I could see blue sky.  I felt warm.  The rain was over!!  Granted, yesterday’s rain felt pretty good whilst tramping, but certainly wasn’t conducive toward good photos.  Our spirits were high as we rolled out of town and southwest toward Westport.  Our first stop would be Tauranga Bay, the location of a seal colony.

Spotting the seals was one thing, but the walk beyond that point was yet another pleasant trek.  A short walk took us by horses & up to a lighthouse, and having grown up beside a lighthouse I have a bit of an infatuation with them.  The horses held an infatuation by Jojo, who immediately went running up to their fence, and soon enough had hopped the fence & was chatting with and petting them.  Svenja and I let her be as we continued to the lighthouse, and returned to hear that Jojo had apparently tried (or seriously thought) about mounting one to ride it.  Ahh, girls and their horses…

Continuing, we passed through Greymouth – with a beautiful location but an otherwise nondescript town – and on through Hoktika – which actually had a bit nicer of a downtown as compared to other Kiwi centers.  The whole drive along the coast was spectacular, with every curve bringing an even more amazing view.  The views were further pronounced by the crystal clear sky all around, apart from the menacing clouds hanging on the mountains.  The weather and views combined to make this the best New Zealand road trip yet.

When we arrived in Franz Josef Glacier’s eponymous village, just shy of 9pm and minutes away from reception’s closing time, we learned that this time around we actually did have a room to ourselves.  Six bunks, but we were the only three in there.  The room was completely self-contained: kitchen, breakfast table, an excellent (if not too good) heater, and even a television with a grand four channels.  More critically: a spa – though it’s broken here & we have to head to a neighboring hostel; but I can live with that.

We all took bottom bunks when we first walked in, but almost instantly we all came to the same realization: the bottom bunks were a tight fit.  You couldn’t even sit up without bashing your head on the bunk above.  Hence, we all relocated to the top bunk: living in our own world high above the room.  With cathedral ceilings, it’s a spacey world.

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