In the early hours of this morning, I was looking for some meds, my first migraine on this trip which decided to linger for the day - so a slow start to our day. Rather annoying as we are now in Glacier country and theres plenty to see and explore in these parts.
There are two glaciers on our doorstep - Franz Josef glacier and Fox glacier. The small town of Franz Josef is the busiest tourist stop on the West Coast and is entirely supported by the glacier. The only way onto the glaciers is with a guided tour. Personally I prefer the smaller township of Fox Glacier giving a more of an intimate village experience than Franz Josef but accommodation is snapped up quickly, we stayed in Franz Josef but spent most of our time round Fox.
Today we headed out to Lake Matheson - everyone goes here for that breathtaking 'calendar' shot of the snow capped mountains of Mount Tasman and Mount Cook reflected on Lake Matheson. I got a couple of good shots, but by the time we got to the proper viewing point the mountains had clouded over. Not to worry the walk through the bush was just as nice.
But the highlight to my day was further down the road to Gillespies Beach, its another 'must do' for all. A pleasant drive along a firm dirt road through our native bush opens into a tiny settlement. At the northern end of the beach is a miner's cemetery, a car park and camping area, and the start to a number of short walks to mining sites and to the remains of a gold dredge which worked the land. There is a short walk to the beach which is covered in driftwood and stones and an amazing lagoon if you follow the coastal footprint along the bottom of the dunes. Plenty of birdlife - we spied two kingfishers. On a clear day there are views of the Southern Alps. Again Hubby and I were pushed for time as the sun was lowering, the air cooling and the tide was coming in, hubby was urging me along aware it was not the place to be without a torch and the car faraway.
It was a hard blip to choose for this adventurous day but the lagoon won my heart with its birdlife and the low sun capturing the rainforest. We hope to get back here someday to see the miner's tunnel, the seal colony and enjoy the beach once more.
A great Day 10, even with the linger of a migraine.
Another edit, this one regarding yesterday's blip being 2 May.
A great day saw us exploring the historical town of Ross, where the largest gold nugget ever found in New Zealand was discovered. It was a massive 3.1kg with a current value of NZD$136,000. The nugget was later purchased by the government of the day and gifted to King George V, who turned it into a golden tea set.
We stopped at Hari Hari where the monument to the then 21 year old Guy Menzies is. He was the first to fly from Australia to New Zealand. He took 11hrs 45mins and had planned to land in Blenheim but was well of course and landed with his Avro Avian aircraft, 'Southern Cross Junior' upside down in a Hari Hari swamp.
We stopped at Okarito and is one of New Zealand's most special places. The area was orginally inhabited by Maori for seasonal seafood harvests, but all changed with the discovery of gold on its beaches. Today it is a quite sanctuary for our native birds including the White Heron and Okarito Brown Kiwi. The old school house is still there along with Donavan's store which sold its last groceries in the 1970's. It is rich with history which can be found in the harbour masters shed, situated on the wharf