Hokitika, Arthurs Pass & Christchurch

January 20, 2016

HELLLLLO! Hope everyone is doing well! In case you missed the last post, I decided to separate the road trip into sections and post a few photos at at a time instead of dumping them all on you at once. Hmm.. Let’s see, so after the Fox and Franz Joseph Glacier, Brittany and I continued heading North along the West Coast of the South Island. The rain started to lighten up as we hit a little town called Hokitika. This was a little laid back town by the sea that had kind of a hippie vibe. It was really small and here we tried the famous “white bait” sandwich that we kept reading about. We were a little apprehensive about the cost as it was $12.50 for one sandwich, but, when in Rome.. so we ordered it and took a seat with our coffee. As we watched the sleepy town pass by we suddenly were greeted with our breakfast. I wasn’t sure what to expect but as I looked down, to our surprise was two pieces of regular bread with what looked like thin egg omelet inside. No sauce, nothing. Upon inspecting the egg searching for the white bait part we noticed a thing white spirally thing cooked inside the omelet. I guess this was the white bait portion? We took a bite and looked at each other thinking “what the hell?” It was extremely anticlimactic! Haha So we got some Sriracha sauce from the car and tried to flavor it up a little! Oh well, we tried!

After the tasteless sandwich we went to check out the little town. It had a unique feeling about it, It was small and most places were independently owned shops with handmade signs outisde. There were a lot of green stone jewelry stores. In New Zealand, it’s custom to wear a green stone around your neck or to have it in your pocket during the day. There is a catch, you’re not allowed to buy it for yourself, they must be a gift! Andy got me one as a present before I left which I still have around my neck. I love it. Brittany also received one from a friend and wanted to turn it into a necklace. We stopped in a store to ask a woman if she could help. She told us she couldn’t and told us where to go down the road. Of course, in Kiwi fashion, she then spoke to us for a good 15 minutes asking about our travels and sharing hers with us. She was really interested and engaging even though she knew we weren’t going to buy anything. After our chat with her, we set out to find the other store to make Brittany’s necklace. When we found the place the guy told Brit that he could help but that she had to drill the hole in the stone herself! I think it was a traditional gesture because he was the kindest old man. He set up all the tools and then let Brittney drill away! Luckily she didn’t mess up and left with the stone around her neck as a necklace. The guy had a really calming characteristic around him. We said that he reminded us of an old Morgan Freeman! Hah! Afterwards, we checked out the beach before continuing onward.

After Hokitika, we cut inland away from the West Coast heading East. We crossed over Arthurs Pass which is supposed to have great hikes. When we got there it was raining buckets again and upon seeing that Christchurch was a quick drive away, we continued onwards and skipped it all together. We kept forgetting how small New Zealand is.. I think we got to Christchurch in 4 days when we anticipated 7 or 8! We drove from the West Coast to the East in mere hours. We stopped a couple places on the way once the rain subdued. We found this epic campsite tucked deep into the valley and said one day we would throw a huge party there! Not sure if that will actually happen, but the idea was nice. We also did a little hike around these caves and saw people all decked out going into and coming out of the cave itself. After the few pit stops we headed our way to Christchurch.

Christchurch is the biggest city in the South Island. On February 22, 2011 it was struck with a devastating earthquake. The entire downtown CBD area was hit and it is still being rebuilt to this date. It’s shocking to see the extensive damage that you can still see 5 years later. Furthermore, I can’t imagine having this happen to the city I grew up in. In a matter of minutes, most of the buildings are either destroyed or damaged to a point where it’s unsafe for people to return. I saw many sites where old buildings were still standing yet no one allowed inside. I assume they will get around to knocking them down and rebuilding them in time. What was really impressive about this city was how I perceived the peoples reactions to such a hard time. The city center is filled with different artwork and colorful additions to brighten up the town. I like how the city turned it into something beautiful and didn’t just roll over and give up. I respect that.

In Christchurch, we met up Poppy, an old Coronet Peak workmate. Poppy grew up there so she took us on a little tour of the city! It was nice to hear stories from someone who actually grew up there and experienced the entire ordeal. Her passion (and just her overall amazing, bubbly personality) helped me see Christchurch from a different angle. I am really thankful for that and just in general her being in my life, she’s awesome! Reuniting with old friends didn’t just stop with Poppy, we stayed with a handful of old friends from Queenstown who have since moved to Christchurch! It was a GREAT reunion and even though they had a bed for us, we fell asleep watching TV on the couch every night. There is something special about falling asleep watching TV with your mates because neither one of you want to go to bed and end the day! Special thanks to Lloyd, Dan, Chiara and Sammy for the hospitality! It was a nice three nights to regroup before returning back to tent life! I also met up with Bex, who I met my last time I was in Christchurch! Talk about back to back reunions!

After Christchurch is was up the East Coast of the South Island.. but lets save that for another time. wink emoticon

Previous Posts of the New Zealand Road Trip:

Fox and Franz Joseph Glacier:
https://ontheloosejuice.com/…/…/fox-and-franz-joseph-glacier/

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She didn’t know I had my camera on a self timer and was gonna jump in the frame!

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Brit sitting waiting for me to come with a coupe beers! 🙂

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Serenity on the West Coast

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The clouds on the West Coat before we arrived to Hokitika.

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Arthur’s Pass

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This is I believe at the campsite we found where we will throw our future hypothetical party!

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Botanical Gardens in Christchurch

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I liked this little arch of flowers in Christchurch Botanical Gardens

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Botanical Gardens Christchurch

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Christchurch

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Here is one of the famous churches that was hit by the earthquake.

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Here is where you can start to see the artwork seen throughout Christchurch!

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Street Art

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Art in Christchurch – I don’t think you are allowed in any of those three buildings in the frame, I could be mistaken though.

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Christchurch

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Random Pot Garden in Christchurch

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Christchurch

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Containers were seen throughout the town as well, this was in an effort to preserve parts of old buildings. You can see the face of the building here being held up by the containers.

 

 

 

 

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Martin Luther King Day!

January 18, 2016

Happy Martin Luther King Day!! I don’t have words for this man.. His contribution and impact on our lifetime is something I’ll always be grateful for. He is a staple of what true bravery and standing up for what you believe in can actually accomplish. Let’s hope we have more like him in the future in regards to discrimination towards others groups of religion, class, race and sexual orientation & identifications. But for today, let’s take time and appreciate all progress the King has done since his monumental time on this Earth. 🙂

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Fox and Franz Joseph Glacier

January 15, 2016

So it begins, I am going to take this rare opportunity of being in the same place for 10 days and try to write and post as much as I can about the South Island Road Trip. It started in late November and has ran its way from the South to the North where I am (back in) Napier to work a week and a half before continuing onwards. Now, let’s just hop we find some work on Monday.

Alright, I hope everyone is doing well – So, before this part of the trip in New Zealand, I was in Queenstown living for about 6 months. That is where I worked at Coronet Peak at the ski field on the lifts. After about 6 months, I left Queenstown and went to Dunedin, Catlins National Park, Milford Sound and finally back to Queenstown for one night before continuing forward. I posted some pics of this back in November, but this is where I left off so I’ll pick up there. Opposed to posting 250 photos at once of the entire trip, I will cut up the trip into about 7-8 blog posts with photos relevant to each post! I will post them on here because I know people get lazy when it comes to clicking a link J – but I will also post them on my blog – www.ontheloosejuice.com

Leaving Queenstown from the second time was the final “goodbye.” The first time I left, less than a week prior, I knew it wasn’t the real goodbye because I would have one night left in Queenstown.. I would see my friends, and most importantly, Andy, one more time before I went on. The last night in Queenstown was real nice. Andy and I had a big meal and then went to the Ice Bar (bar made out of ice) for a couple drinks before heading home. The next day, Brittany and I said our goodbyes to everyone and finally hit the road. I’ll never forget the feeling of driving down the road with Queenstown behind me, getting further and further each moment. What the hell was going to happen now? Where will we go? Who will I meet? Well, at that point you are as free as you’re about to ever be. The road is yours. Take out a map. Choose a place. Go.

There are three routes from the bottom to top of the South Island. There is a road on the west, east and center. The route on the East is the less scenic of the three so automatically that was a “Nope.” The central route is nice too, but luckily I saw it already with various weekend trips to Mount Cook, Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo. The West is supposed to be the most epic, filled with landscapes resembling Lord of the Rings or Jurassic Park. Therefore, it was an easy choice to go there.

The first stop after Queenstown was Wanaka, a small town I had seen a couple times up until now. We paid the mandatory visit to “That Wanaka Tree” and headed onward via Haast Pass. This is when the real landscapes started to kick in. I really can’t describe the rugged, jagged faces of mountains towering higher than I can comprehend. Unfortunately, it was cloudy and raining so we couldn’t see the tops of some, as they were too high in the sky. The clouds did make for an eerie mood. It had a real unique vibe with the clouds and the rain. I really did expect a pterodactyl or Froto Baggins to come out at any time.

After we finally got over the pass we made it to the coast! It was nice to finally see the ocean after 6 months in New Zealand. When we got to the coast the rain and wind had really picked up. You couldn’t really do anything outside for too long and the forecast showed no sunshine anytime soon. Therefore, unfortunately, the West Coast was kind of rushed and completed in about two days time. The rain was relentless and wind unbearable. The worst part about the West Coast was the sandflies. I mentioned these before, but they’re the worst thing known to man. I never thought I would meet something I despised more than a mosquito.. and then I met the sandfly! Their bites are brutal. One morning we accidentally left the front of the tent open and by the time we noticed and shut it there were over 300+ sandflies inside the tent? It was raining at this point so we decided to just take down the tent and worry about it later. It was still raining that night so when we put up the wet tent, dead (and some alive) sandflies were still trapped inside. It definitely wasn’t one of the fondest moments but made for a great story because, hell, we’re still alive.

Besides our initial bad luck with weather and sandflies, the West Coast itself was beautiful. The West Coast is home of the largest glaciers in New Zealand. We were able to visit two, the Fox Glacier and Franz Josef! When we arrived at the Fox Glacier, it really started to rain. We wanted to do the walk to the base of the glacier, but decided to continue 45-60 minutes up the coast to the supposedly more impressionable Franz Josef Glacier. We did the “look out” at the Fox Glacier but couldn’t see much. When we got to Franz Josef, the rain stopped temporarily for the first part of our hike to the base. What we saw on this hike was incredible.

In short, these glaciers are melting. They have been melting for decades and they’re diminishing quicker and quicker as time goes on. In the near future, they won’t even exist. It’s sad, but most likely true. At Franz Josef, we parked the car and started the hour and a half round trip to the glacier base. As we walked towards the glacier, I noticed we were walking in a gigantic bowl shaped valley where the glacier used to be before it melted. The valley was covered with rocks deposited by the glacier as it tore its way through the hillside years ago. The rocks increased in size as we made our way to the glacier. After a short hike through this valley, we finally reached the base of the glacier. The glacier is rested in the valley of two mountains. It’s massive. Unfortunately, the rain started again just as we reached it, so most of my photos were mental photos as the ones with my camera came out quite bad. It was a real treat to see such a unique part of the world as this. I am not sure I have ever seen a proper glacier before. Let’s just hope they remain for our future generations to enjoy as well.

The Glaciers and the first part of the West Coast were good, but not properly explored due to the weather – Luckily, as we continued North, the weather began to work in our favor and the sun began to shine. We reached beaches, got sunburns, ran into friends, partied, worked, etc. But that’s for another day and time. This is just the beginning of what was yet to come!

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Reflections

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OK – so this pic is pretty embarassing – I had just woke up and went to take some photos of the moody lake. I set my camera up on a 10 second timer and posted it up on the tripod. I wanted to get to that final rock for a little old harmless selfie but I didn’t get there in time.. Not only did I not get there but right after this photo I lost my balance and fell into the lake! haha! My shoes and pants were soaked. Not my finest moment!

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The trail of people walking down the path towards toe base of the Fox Glacier – We didn’t do this hike as it was raining quite hard at this point.

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The crappy view point of the Fox Glacier – That big white thing is the glacier sitting between two moutnains!

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You can see here this valley which is where the glacier used to be before it melted – We are en route to the glacier bas

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Reaching the base of Franz Josef as the rain starts to pour

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Yep – this is what I meant by the mental photos – The light jus wasnt working out in our favor, not to mention the rain – So here is my attempt of shooting the glacier itself.

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Damn this photo could have been so good if my fly wasn’t down!! #FAIL!!!!!

 

 

Mercury Bay @ Simpson Beach

January 14, 2016
It was supposed to be sunny today. 😩 Still not a bad view to wake up to. Last night we came back to Mercury Bay in the Coromandel Peninsula. We stayed here a couple nights ago as well. The woman whose yard were staying on (yep) is a legend. Basically, there is an app called “Camper Mate” which lets you know where campsites are nearby and their applicable fees. A typical site is $7-10 per person, per night.. However, we found one for $5. (Every dollar saved means longer of traveling and not having to work.. It adds up. Now, if I could remind myself that every time I want to go to the beer store, I could travel forever, haha). When we arrived it turns out it’s simply an old ladies house who lets travellers stay on her beach front lawn but requests we use to public toilets nearby (which is completely understandable). When we arrived she gave us a long winded history of the land and made us feel really welcomed. It turns out the counsel really doesn’t like her doing this and wants to shut her down. Therefore, we have to do little things like not hand over the money in public, be discrete when disposing our trash in the public trash cans, etc. 😂 As mentioned, we stayed here a couple nights ago and when we came back last night she was full and couldn’t take us in. She didn’t want to turn us away so her and her #mate took it upon themselves to try to find us a hostel which all proved to be full as well. Therefore, they let us post up on their neighbors lawn for the evening! Last night, we sipped beers, sat on that wooden section below, watched the stars and had great convo. It was a wonderful night. Before bed, the woman came to tell us goodnight and brought us a bucket to aid us in washing our dishes. The simple little selfless things Kiwis repeatedly do for us makes me love this country more and more everyday. They’re amazing. Now, of course waking up to this weather isn’t ideal but it comes with the territory. The waves to sound pretty awesome though. Maybe we’ll head back South today. Who knows.