After seeing the icy Fox Glacier, we headed up to Franz Joseph. By now the hunger pains were setting in so time for a lunch stop. The idea being lunch then back to the Franz Joesph Glacier. We had missed the turnoff to Lake Matheson where we had planned lunch at the cafe. Instead, we stopped as soon as we arrived in Franz, having a look at a lovely place called Blue Ice. Not only was the service personal and friendly, prices were very good and the food itself was superb! Top is the Seafood Chowder which I enjoyed immensely, below a burger meal. Highly recommend taking the time to stop at this restaurant and bar. If you’re coming from Hokitika, you will find this restaurant on the Southside of town, after driving through the main Franz Joesph township.
This little lookout at Franz Joesph was a short sharp hill walk from the carpark. Franz is further back than Fox Glacier, so you have to do a lot of walking here to see the Glacier itself. As we did not have the time today, a short walk to this lookout was all we could fit in. A nice way to wear off the calories from that superb Blue Ice lunch.
Back on the road, we made a couple of brief stops for fuel etc as we headed towards our next destination. Below are a couple of shots along the way. Firstly one of the many lakes we had seen today, secondly, the iconic road road bridge near Hokitika. A new bridge is being built next to it, so in a couple of year s traffiic probably won’t use this singe lane bridge.
Hokitika was a fuel stop for us and Greymouth we drove through. Our main aim this afternoon was to stop at the Pancake Roacks at Punakiki. This meant heading to Westport when we left Greymouth instead of towards Blenheim.
Punakiki is short distance from Westport and well worth stopping for. A circuit walkway has been set up throughout the area so you can view the rocks and blowholes from many angles. Today the rough West Coast sea was fairly calm which meant we didn’t see the water rising up high through the blowholes. However, the incredible power of nature was very evident here. We even found the island where seagulls live!
The West Coast of New Zealand is a incredible experience. Rugged, natural, remote, rough yet beautiful.We took the trip from Queenstown to Westport in a day. To see everything properly, we should have taken at least two, if not three days, however we did not have the time on this occasion.
Our stop off in Westport for the night was brief, but comfortable in a roomy motel unit at Westport Motels on the Esplanade. Very easy to find as it was the first road on the left over the bridge. After a quick unpack, we took a brief drive through Westport before eventually settling on the The Quarry restaurant and bar for dinner. Lovely big meals. in a nice relaxed setting. If you are in Westport check this place out. The great down to earth West Coast service made for a nice relaxed evening.
After a well deserved sleep, we set off early in the morning heading for Blenheim. Passing through the Buller Gorge, we saw some interesting sights, below are a few photos to show what we saw.
On a cloudy day, the Buller Gorge was today very moody.The iconic Hawks Crag is an interesting piece of one way road.
We stopped in Murchison for a. very hearty warming breakfast. Now thats quite an omlette, full to the brim with goodness. Well worth stopping at Beechwoods Cafe Murchison.
The landscape started to change again as we headed towards our last roadside stop before Blenheim.Last stop, Lake Rotoiti. We could not have visited on a better day, with the lake mirroring the towering mountains in the background. Beautiful clear waters enhanced by the clear rays of sunlight.
Enjoy the atmosphere of these photos, I hope they have given you an insight into the spectacular ever changing scenery of New Zeal Zea South. Is Is. Next week, I will complete the blog of Marlborough area before we leave NZ until the next visit. Take the time, visit here, its well worth it.