Fox Glacier to Blenheim via Westport

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.

Queenstown and surrounds = New Zealand

We have recently returned from a quick trip to NZ.   You cannot be anything less than impressed with stunning scenery as you fly into the tourist destination of Queenstown.  The rugged mountains, plunging into deep crevasses where clear rivers flow, smoothing the rough rocks to pebbles, lends itself well to the many film backdrops these breath taking landscapes have been used in.Everywhere you look something is happening. Jet boats  thrill their patrons with high powered fun on these crystal waters, skimming sideways over shallow gravel before speeding up the deeper water.  Ride the gondala, to the skyline for a birds eye view over Queenstown.  Up there you will more activities including the luge.  Take the time to drink in this amazing view, with viewing decks and so much to see you will wonder how one can ever describe this portrait. Photos never do it justice.

We had brief drive to Alexandra, stopping along the way to see the sights.  In Arrowtown, mere minutes from Queenstown we stopped in at local bakery for breakfast, eating our delicious purchases with this scenic backdrop, traces of snow still topping the mountains.

Arrowtown is quaint, retaining the look from yesteryear.   This was a quick look for us as time was of the essence, however take the time to look around.  There is much to see in this history soaked township.  

Next stop was the AJ Hackett bungy jump.  Wind your way down the spiralling ramp to the busy activities below.   Should you feel the need to jump off a bridge or whiz down the swing, all the while suspended high over the river, now is your chance.  Personally, I was happy to watch.

The iconic Clyde Dam, a most amazing feat of human engineering.   Here we stopped to marvel in this mass of concrete hydro dam, suspended above Clyde.  This huge dam supplies the north island of New Zealand with power.  Locals are supplied by the Roaring Meg.

Heading back to Queenstown our next stop was the most intriguing Motorsport Park at Cromwell. Here there are go carts, V8s and some very impressive vehicles on show, or take a ride, that option exists too.  You may prefer to take the Jurassic Park bus and look for dinosaurs!  Very cleverly designed, there is much to entertain here.

Stop at the Roaring Meg hydro power scheme.  Fabulous photo opportunity abounds as Meg obligingly roars in the background.

Enjoy your visit here, so much to see, so much do and scenery beyond belief.  Oh and don’t forget the food!  Here you will not go hungry with many eating establishments to cater for all.

You may even be lucky enough to enjoy some wonderful views with your meal. Enjoy!

I’m leaving with this this shot from underwater viewing, directly off the wharf at Queenstown. Yes this is real!  Keep an eye out for the next NZ road trip blog, a lot more to come yet.

Frankton Arms Tavern New Zealand

Stunning scenery is par for the course in Queenstown.  However you cannot deny the breathtaking scenery whilst visiting Frankton Arms Tavern.

A big complex located in Frankton, which is next to Queenstown on Lake Wakitipu.  Staff here were very friendly helpful and looked to enjoy their working environment.


Outside there are some very impressive wooden tables, and again, that view!

We loved the meals here, with all of us agreeing the presentation of the bangers and mash was outstanding.  Take a look at this:


This simple meal was turned into a work of art.  Very impressive.


Meal sizes are extra large.  Take a look at this pizza!   

Highly recommend a visit to this great value venue.  It’s worth a trip to Queenstown to enjoy the meals whilst you soak in this beautiful area.   Enjoy😋

The Manhatten, Roxburgh, New Zealand

A short 30 minute drive from Alexandra in Central Otago lies the town of Roxburgh. Near the heart of the township, is where you will find The Manhatten Cafe. A casual, relaxed yet trendy and very roomy cafe. Plenty of seating areas throughout the length of restaurant, give you a choice of watching the world pass by out the front, sheltering from the weather inside, or enjoying the expansive rear deck area, scattered with tables and seating.

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Bagels, pizzas, sides, amongst other meals, entice you from the two page menu. Barista coffees or a wide variety of wines, beers and spirits are available to dampen the thirst. Friendly, efficient service is most definitely a part of the overall dining experience. Drop in for a coffee, or take the time to wile away an hour or two over a meal or drink.

Our drinks were served upon ordering at the bar, with the meals arriving in a very reasonable time. The bagel below was a large meal on its own, plus this was partnered with a tantalisingly, fresh coleslaw.

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Hubby chose a pizza, which arrived on a large board, packed with his choice of toppings, chicken & Brie with a plum sauce. He did declare this to be one of the best pizzas he had eaten.

My choice was the garlic prawn skewers, resting upon a bed of coleslaw.

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The prawns themselves were delicious, with just the right amount of garlic for my taste. Finely chopped vegetables and sauce made for an extremely tasty coleslaw mix, pairing very well with the prawns. Another menu option here was chilli prawns, however on this occasion, I chose the garlic version….which I would probably do again!😄

We highly recommend taking the time go stop at this hidden gem, on your way through Roxburgh. Whether for a quick coffee or lingering lunch, you will not be disappointed 👍😄.

Buster Crabb, Invercargill, New Zealand

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Right now you’re feeling like you’ve just stepped back in time, or into the scene of an old movie. Snappy suits, hats or spats on the shoes would not be out of place here. With a couple of separate dining rooms, shrouded in heavy curtains, you have the opportunity to request a private dining room for a group booking.

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There is little, if anything to fault about the decor and setup of this restaurant. Signed photos and other interesting paraphernalia adorn the walls and areas within the restaurant. Plenty of parking in the area behind the restaurant, with an extensive menu and drinks list, this is a place to cater to most tastes.

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Menus are presented in an aged newspaper format adding to the early 1900’s atmosphere. Meals presented were large. Luckily, on this occasion I had opted for an entree meal with a side of beans as my main. Pork & Duck Terrine. This in itself was more than ample on this occasion. The terrine paired beautifully with the sliced apple and cranberry sauce on the side.

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Seafood chowder, I’m told was fabulously creamy and full of seafood including mussels, smoked fish, salmon and prawns. Hubby has been on a quest to find the best seafood chowder and this one did not disappoint.

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Whilst you’re visiting Invercargill, take the time to visit this interesting restaurant. Once you have finished checking out the decor, sit back, order from the menu and resist the urge to tilt a bowler hat to the side or light up a cigar. Enjoy!