So we made it to the South Island safely, thankfully it wasn't too choppy on the voyage across! The Marlborough Sounds scenery was stunning as we approached Picton. We headed straight out of Picton towards Nelson, stopping in Havelock for some lunch at a Scottish pub, The Clansman. Yummy food and yummy owner!! We arrived in Nelson and headed to our hostel, Accents in the Park, which was lovely, more like a hotel with bathrooms straight out of The Ritz, which was brilliant after Rowena's!!! We wandered around the town and enjoyed our night in Nelson.
Our next stop on the West Coast was Westport which was an amazing drive, with unbelievable scenery. We drove most of the way next to the Buller River which was an amazing blue with white pebbles (think LOTR 1) so we attempted to take lots of photos but the trees got in our way!! We then had to drive the Buller Gorge which consisted of a single lane cut into the cliff face - very scary!!! Westport was literally one main street so not much to discover. We headed to the beach instead which was scattered with driftwood, the beach car park was a tiny lighthouse spit between the harbour and river so pretty spectacular. In our hostel we were joined by the whole Kiwi experience bus, which has followed us ever since!!
Just south of Westport is Tauranga Bay where a Seal Colony lives on the rocks at the beach. We stopped here and took lots of pictures, they were so cute, especially the little babies playing tag with each other!! Ahh Bless! From here we headed to Greymouth stopping at the Pancake Rocks and the Blowholes. Again more impressive sites although we missed high tide so didn't see the blow holes at their best. Greymouth is the biggest city on the West coast although we weren't impressed as everything was closed and it was a SATURDAY!!! Seriously how do these people live??!!! It was nice to have a break from driving and sightseeing. We also had our own mini apartment (at a motel) which was a nice change!
From Greymouth to Franz Josef was a good drive, with lovely scenery again. We stopped off at Hokitiki, the Jade capital of NZ, which had lots of Jade shops selling among other things lots of jewellery - even though we spent quite a bit, it was well worth it and just think of the exchange rate! Arrived in Franz Josef following the snow capped mountains - wow! Again the town literally consists of a street, but we've found enough to do here. This morning we went on a horse trek which was so fun, although sod's law it started raining almost as soon as we set off! We went through 'the moors' surronded by the Southern Alps, unfortunately it was too cloudy to see the whole glacier from the river. We all enjoyed what was meant to be a trot, but was so a canter! Our horses were all lovely, we rode Molly (Sam), Casper (Lau) and Floyd (Fi) obviously we couldn't take our cameras so no pictures - sorry guys, but our guides were really friendly so everyone should trek with Southland Horse Treks. This afternoon we walked up the mountain in the rain, without waterproofs, to see the glacier face. It was amazing to suddenly see this huge wall of ice in front of us.
Tomorrow we are off to Lake Wanaka, so will update you all soon.
Love and hugs xxxxxxxxxxx