Snowy peaks


Merry merry Christmas everyone! the clouds have lifted and here’s the view from SH6 in Franz Josef this morning. Everyone’s left to celebrate Christmas elsewhere and all you can here are the sounds of the rainforest. I have a short vid clip to share but its the wrong format to post here sorry. Will try to correct soon. It’s truly beautiful. We must have picked a bad time to arrive here earlier this week when it was party town!

Mr W has picked his spot on the mountain where he’s building his art studio. Pops – could you come and lend a hand when you’ve finished Elma’s?,!!

Luxurious Christmas brekky at hotel this morning ahead of rough and rugged stay in Haas tonight.

See you tomorrow PM Nanna and Grandad!!!!! ๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿ’ƒ


Christmas snow


Merry Christmas everyone! Fantastic day out exploring Franz Josef and Fox glaciers. The first one literally stopped us in our tracks WOW and it just got better from there! Rainforests. ..and looking for poanamu..

Luckily Santa remembered Master E was here in Franz Josef and came down to visit at the hotel. ๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…

Tomorrow. …Haast Beach.

Tired . Lights out. Hope Santa is good to you all ๐Ÿ˜Š

P.S. I don’t get it. Rainforest plus icy glaciers. In the same place. Huh??

PPS. Master E still up playing Lego while Mr W and I have gone to bed. Zzzzz

Such a sad shame

As with other international tourist traps I find it such a sad sad shame that Franz Josef has succumbed to the complacency, arrogance and general acceptance of an international group of people behaving REALLY badly. High prices, rudeness and total disregard for other people. even bus drivers – shouting and swearing across the carpark at 6:30am. Such a beautiful place, such a terrible shame that it is such an unjoyable ripoff to stay here.

I’m just bitter as I’ve had about 5 hrs of broken sleep in a very expensive hotel room which has felt like a cheap YHA dorm given all the noise on either side of us. Chicken noises, loud chicken noises from the room nxt door at 12:15am.

Best get up and do the glacier before that gets taken over by swearing hungover backpackers too.

Franz Josef. Haaaruumpf. have Had oustanding service in beautiful settings with other quiet peaceful tourists in smaller towns. I think this is a town to visit for the glacier but then move on. quickly. And BYO sandwiches unless your happy parting with a sizeable chunk of yiur budget for average pub food.

Thank God for the beautiful scenery. Rant over.


Jade country

I am starting to think that a selfie stick would be a good idea about now before the content from this blog ends up on Awkward Family ๐Ÿ˜Š

Today we had a wander around the many NZ jade (green stone or ponamu) and paua jewellery shops of Hokitika before we left town. we are in the heart of green stone country and I learnt you actually have to have a license to go fossicking around the many riverbeds here to collect greenstone.

I was so distracted by the bling that I almost forgot my main purpose for visiting Hokitika -Tranny Granny Jacquie who runs the sock machine museum. Luckily I was reminded when I ย accidentally walked past her shop and made time to pop in and have a nose around. Jacqui wasn’t in but the lovely ย lady who was there told us all about the sock knitting machines that Jacqui ships all over the world. I could see how knitting socks could get quite addictive if you choose from all the way cool colours of beautiful NZ merino and of course in the winter down here you would need them. For just $380 I would seriously consider setting up my own cottage industry online store!! Especially selling overseas at $40NZD a pair! Check outย for more info.


so we left pretty Hokitika behind ( after a quick taste of whitebait fritters – famous here) and carried on to The turquoise waters of Hokitika Gorge. Magic. Had to keep pinching myself! Not a car to be seen as we drove inland for half an hour through wide open dairy country dotted with old farm houses.

It was magic. and i believe it may inspire a painting or two by the talented Mr W in future. A quick walk through the rainforest to the swing bridge that crosses the still turquoise water. Uh-mazing.

On and on we drove thru more dairy country, skirting the bottom of the mountains, getting closer to the rainforests of Franz Josef. But not before we had a comfort stop at historic Ross. Yep this one’s for you Mr Shardlow ๐Ÿ˜Š xx


Then on to Franz Josef and what a total tourist trap it is here! Plenty of OS backpackers and tourists. Our room we’d booked was being aired out after having the carpets cleaned due to last night’s guest’s activities. Carpet still wet. No other rooms available so it was on to The nxt accom option for us! Mental note:write scathing review on trip advisor about THAT place! No discount ย offered for wet carpets and no alternative suggested. Hmmmm. Found another room elsewhere after several last minute phone calls.

Check in, unload then off for a soak in the glacier hot pools nestled in the rainforest. A great way to unwind after a long drive. Enjoyed by all. Too late for dinner so instant noodles in the Trangi on the balcony it is. Sipping Malborough champagne while watching the colours change over the snow capped peaks.

Tomorrow. ..the glaciers…

Lights out.

If I get any sleep. This place likes to party. Hmmm feeling a bit old!


Magical West Coast


Just another bog standard beach selfie. Except it’s 9.40pm and that’s the moon not the sun. We’re on the west coast at a cute lil place called Hokitika. Or Hokitiki as Master E likes to call it. Mr W has popped out for a walk to check out the glow worm grotto after a pretty long day doing the Great Coast Drive from Westport, thru Greymouth to here. Spectacular doesn’t even come close! It’s magical and beautiful and if you are contemplating a visit to the South this is a must do.20151222_143349

Master E’s favourite stops today included the stinky seal colony at Cape Foulwind:




And the famous pancake rocks at Punakieki. I think I have spelt that wrong but its late and I’m tired so don’t quite care. The setup at Pancake Rocks is very well done and could easily spend a couple of hours there. Good cafe altho a bit over priced. There’s also a good i-site that sells souvenirs; post cards and stamps. We picked up a heap of useful info about our next leg towards Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers tomorrow.


Last night’s stay at Westport holiday park was good – cabins a bit musty and small and overpriced but beds very comfortable and I had the best sleep in days. awesome to wake up to wet and misty and no wind, surrounded by lush green forests and mountains. Big contrast to our less-than-memorable stay in incredibly hot and windy Nelson. Interesting chat with locals in Westport revealed a lot of job losses recently at the local Stockton coal mine which has had a huge impact on local economy. A great place to stop though. Best fish n chips on the planet at Black shark on the main drag.brand new rec centre with huge pool – all 3 of us went for a dip at 6:30am. Heaps of shops รฏcafes and large I Site with coal museum.


Doesn’t look like much does it? Good place for a base in this area.If we’d stayed longer, would have visited Karamea and the limestone arches etc.

Tomorrow. …Hokitika to Franz Josef….

Haven’t had a chance to tell you about the 230k drive between Nelson and Westport but that will have to wait until another post. Lights out.




too late now…

9pm. night before. still packing. so excited. Car too small. need bigger car. repacked boot 36 times. now taking less clothes. didn’t really need posh dresses for camping anyway. no ethan you really DON’t need to take your entire box of lego. Yes Santa will still be able to find us on the west coast. Yes there’s shops where we’re going I don’t need to take entire fridge. Yes Master E we have your Xmas stocking. it has a homing beacon for Santa so wherever we are he will find you. To Mr W, thanks for doing an incredible job today you truly are amazing, and very patient. love you millions. Merry Christmas everyone!!!

xmas 2015_2

PS. Sleep is for the weak. After 2 more coffees I bet i can clean the house before the alarm goes off. ;D

Right decision

Told work colleague about changing plans to stay at holiday parks instead of tent camping at DOC sites. This time he smiles and says “Ah. Good idea. I was wondering how you would put up the tent in the pouring rain. You know it’s really wet down there.”


westport weather this week.PNG

As it turns out…no rain forecast for when we’re there. At the moment. Anything could change, and change several times over the next 4 days.

5 days to go.