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😋

Kaikoura  New Zealand

Boardered by rugged mountains on one side, open ocean stretching further than the eye can see on the other, lies  the township of Kaikoura.  The State Highway runs between the mountain range and the sea, providing access to Kaikoura from the South and the North.  

With limited time to spare, we chose a day trip from Blenheim to Kaikoura.  A very easy day drive, less than 2 hours each way.  However if you have a little more time, make this stunning area a place to stop over.

Coming in from the North, we were greeted with spectacular scenery, as in the photos.   Suddenly from a road winding next to the sea, we turned the corner onto a straight, where your first reaction is “Wow”!  Really the photos do not do the area justice especially as sheer, snow topped mountains sprang into view.


With its name meaning “Meal of Crayfish”, it is no wonder Kaikoura is renown for its Crayfish.  Unfortunately for Hubby it was the wrong time of year for the fresh Crayfish however, so he missed out on this round.  Next visit though, we will ensure we have better timing to enjoy the fresh ones!Time to stretch the legs, with a wander on the foreshore to drink in the beauty of these vistas, before strolling back through the township itself.  Luckily for us we had chosen one of the most beautiful days to visit.  Yes it was chilly, however the sea itself stretched out before us, amazingly flat with the smallest waves lazily lapping the sandy beach.

Another plus was the sheer lack of people enjoying the area.   Certainly nothing was crowded here, although this may be different at times of the high tourist seasons.   After walking up an appetite, it was time to seek a venue for lunch.

The Main Street was sprinkled with cafes, a few were shut for the off season, one pub didn’t actually open until 3pm.  We did however decide upon the Adelphi Hotel.  Here the welcoming, enclosed balcony looked like a nice sunny, sheltered place away from the chill breeze.  Both of us decided upon the Blue cod, one battered with mash, one pan fried.


We made the right choice, both of these meals were delicious!  The pan fried blue cod was delightfully light and a pleasure to eat.   Hubby loved his battered cod and, thankfully, assisted with the consumption of my chips.

Our decision to enjoy a quiet meal and drink in the Adelphi was a good choice.   Here you could watch the world go by, without feeling cold.  In fact the winter sun rays filtering through the window, warmed you through to the bone marrow.

Eventually it was time to head back to Blenheim.   As much as we had enjoyed our outing, we just did have the time to linger.  However if you do, there are a number of activities you can check out in the local area.    

Our last stop after leaving the township, was at the Ohau Point Seal Colony.  With a moving canvas of slippery seal bodies, the seal colony is entertaining and only requires a stop on the side of the highway.  We could have watched these amusing creatures for longer, if it weren’t for the sun dropping behind the mountain, causing the air temperature to rapidly drop.  Still, during the time we were there, we did see a rock pool full of baby seals, playing, ducking, diving and amusing themselves, whilst the majority of adults caught up up on some sleep.Some were too tired to make it very far, simply resting on the nearest rock…

Others chose a more comfortable setting…Pay a visit to Kaikoura, even if it is just a brief stop.  There’s a lot to see, and it strikes you as one of those areas you need to see in all weathers.   As well as the township,  don’t  forget to check out the seals.  Great free entertainment for all!

Zealong Tea – Gordonton, New Zealand

Imagine our surprise when we stumbled upon a tea farm as we were exploring the Waikaro region recently.   Now if you know me well, then you will definitely be well aware I drink three things, water, wine and green/herbal teas.  Only a couple of times a year would I try a juice, milkshake or smoothie.  Sorry coffee but I’m just not a fan.

With some spare time up our sleeves we stopped into this complex to take a look.  What wonderful, inviting staff we encountered at the retail building.   Here I was provided with an intriguing insight into this operation.   We also discovered this complex had only opened a couple of weeks previously.   What wonderful luck on our part!

This proud fellow is one of the carpark guards.  Someone has put a lot of work and thought into the sculptures which have been set in different areas, many depicting the story of tea.

A line of teapots and matching cups in front of the restaurant carpark was just fascinating.  Loved how one end had the dragons head, and the other end his tail.  

One piece of advice we were given by staff, was to visit the onsite restaurant where we would be able to trial their tea,and enjoy a bite to eat if we so desired.   Hubbys ears pricked up at the mention of food, plus having recently branched away from his normal caramel lattes into trialling chai tea, he was interested in stopping by.

Wow!  What an impressive place the Zealong Tea Estate Restauarnt is.  Comfortable, high class surroundings, with a fabulously relaxing view across the estate and dam.

Again I’m going to mention the staff here, service was of an extremely high standard, impeccable, yet still friendly, professional and very helpful.  Certainly nice to be in such fabulous surroundings, and made to feel at home.


After perusing the menu, our wonderful attendant had recommended we trial the high tea as there were so many things we wanted to try!  Surprisingly, Hubby agreed.   With our separate tea choices, we had been shown how to pour and brew our teas, in our  personal cups & strainers.  These partnered with  a very large teapot of hot water, which nested in a box upon its own burner, next to the table.  Each person received four cups of tea, quite generous in itself.

The food was delectable, tea was most enjoyable, and, to hear Hubby rate this as one of the highlights of our trip was fantastic.  I think the fact this was such an unexpected find, certainly had us come in with no expectations.   Next time we visit, we will join one of the informative tea tours.  

If you are a tea lover then you will love this place.  Even if you’re not, go give it a try, there’s a wine list and other beverages to choose from.  We did purchase a sample of the teas, which are enjoying sampling.   A shame this place isn’t closer for us, but I guess it means another visit to NZ!    We will be back…..