Tuesday, 19 January 2010

From the warm and sunny Abel Tasman we travelled south down the beautiful scenic west coast to the cool and wet Southern Alps of Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. In the sunshine the snow clad mountains are picturesque, but as we discovered, sunshine is a rare thing here!

Then inland to very hot and sunny Wanaka, a small town on the very lovely Lake Wanaka which each year hosts the world's most scenic triathlon. And it was taking place the weekend we were there! No wonder it was so difficult to find a place to stay! A carnival atmosphere reigned in town and the competitors sweltered in the heat, so did the onlookers!

A few kms down the road is Mount Aspiring National Park where a drive down an unpaved road, crossing several hair-raising fords, and with hitch-hiker in the car, led us to a walk with a marvellous view point over Rob Roy glacier and waterfalls.

Today we drove to Arrowtown and whilst sitting eating our lunch along came churchwarden Jane from home - what an amazing coincidence! We spent a good hour together chatting and catching up with news from home!

Friday, 8 January 2010

Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman is New Zealand's youngest National Park and is named after Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman who was the first European to come to New Zealand, but he was driven away by the natives. Shame he never got to set foot on this beautiful spot, he missed a lot!
There are no roads going through the park but there is a coastal path and water taxis run backwards and forwards to take you to the beginning of your walk and pick you up at your destination. A great way to travel! Although called water taxis, they're large and more like ferries. It was fun to walk along the path and amazingly beautiful. The colours are vibrant and quite different to anywhere else I've been. Not surprisingly the area attracts lots of artists who are keen to share their work and I've enjoyed visiting art galleries and admiring the creativity!