NZ – Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier Village at EveryTrail
Another long day in the car, and as it turned out – the worst day of weather of our holiday. Indeed we were exceptionally lucky to get to Haast as the road through the mountains had only been re-opened following landslides over the previous couple of days just as we left Queenstown – but we didn’t know that as we set out.
Our first stop was at Roaring Meg – a hydro-electric plant which was also the starting-point and branching-off point for many of the extreme adventure experiences, including Ruth’s bungie jump. The river in spate (but not flood) was impressive and the photo doesn’t convey the speed and power of the river as it flows through the gorge sufficiently. The hydro-electric facility is to the middle right of the picture powered by another river coming in from the right.
Then it was Wanaka, on Lake Wanaka, for coffee (again a Lonely Planet recommendation) at Cafe Gusto and a pleasant stroll through the small lakeside resort – I had thought of staying here a night instead of two nights at Queenstown. The picture below shows the outlook onto the lake from the promenade and a view
of the town. The postcard picture below gives an idea of how Wanaka sits beside the lake.
Shortly after leaving Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea behind we hit rain. Torrential rain. The rivers were in spate and the roads were partially blocked in places. The road crews were out in force and everywhere there was heavy earth moving equipment. Landslides must be a regular part of everyday life on the Haast Pass.
A brief stop in Haast itself (not very exciting – a truck stop really with a cafe and a motel) for sandwich lunch and it was on to Franz Josef Glacier Village.
We’d booked into another motel and were very pleased to find that we’d actually been allocated a room in a very pleasant set of apartments. Superbly equipped and just beside the place we went to have our evening meal at the Alice May Restaurant & Bar. A pleasant and adequate meal which we ate to the accompaniment of a pool game and a group that was setting-up for the evening. One-two. One-two.