From Queenstown to the Golden Bay

The Westside of the South Island

After we spent two nights in Queenstown we decided to continue our journey to the Westcoast and to skip the further southern part of the island. It was not an easy decision but we were running out of time and didn´t want to stress ourselves and further we wanted to stay in one place for a couple of days. So we drove from Queenstown towards the west coast. We made a short stopover in Wanaka, a small lovely town at the lake and surrounded by beautiful mountains.


When we just wanted to continue our journey at another lookout at Lake Wanaka, a camper van just stopped in front of our car and blocked our way. We were a bit irritated, but then we looked into the driver´s cab… there they were: Denise and Oli! We were in the middle of nowhere and they luckily saw us, what a nice surprise and what a coincidence. We actually planned to meet up in New Zealand somewhere after we saw each other in Australia. But sometimes the phone network here is not always present and we didn´t had the chance to arrange a place and time to meet up, we knew roughly our routes and that´s it. It was such a big surprise and we had our time for some chit chat, so funny.


After we passed the crest towards the west coast, you saw immediately the change of the landscape, the hills and mountains are abundantly covered with vegetation. The forests looks like jungles, ferns in all sizes and variants, everywhere moss, the forest wet, and everything in these rich green colours, absolutely fascinating.


We spent one night in Haast, a very little town, just some few houses around. Around there we went walking to Hapuka Estuary and Tauparikaka Marine Reserve. In Hapuka you walk through a wooden footbridge through the rainforest and the swampland, really rustic but beautiful. In Tauparikaka you walk partly through the forest and the beach, also very beautiful but windy on the beach.


We stayed two nights at a place called Franz Josef Glacier and went there for a hike to the Fox and Franz Josef Glacier. Well, we didn´t really walk on the Glacier but instead at the sub montane of the Glacier as far as we were allowed to walked. The weather was unsettled, sometimes sunshine and sometimes rain with cold winds. The decline of the glaciers show you the climate change, it´s unbelievable how fast the changes has been during the last years.


Further north at the west coast we stopped at Pancake Rocks and had a short walk. The stones there look like stacked pancakes, somehow very unreal, incredible. Close to that area at the Porarari River we made a further walk. This area reminds me a bit of the movie Jurassic Park, a lost world, very cool. We drove even further north to Tauranga Bay and visited a small seal colony. That day we stayed for one night in Greymouth.


The next day we drove to Golden Bay. On the way there we made a stopover for a short walk at “The Old Ghost Road”. The total length of this walking path is around 85km, in former time it was an old gold miner road. The track goes through forests, mountains and rivers, a lovely landscape for a hike, but we only walked some few km of this whole track.


When we arrived at Golden Bay we wanted to stay here longer and planned to stay for four nights. We stayed here in Parapara and booked our stay via Airbnb. Here in this area we wanted to make some more walking at the Abel Tasman National park. We will keep you updated later about this part of our travel…