I think we’ve done it. Finished the planning I mean.
Long discussions with seasoned local travelers of the west coast involving raised eyebrows and awkward long comments of “Woooaahh” in response to my excited declaration that we are going to camp in a tent all down the west coast during December, led to us revisiting this decision.
A colleague at work just kind of paused. Then looked at me smiling, “good luck with that”.
One friend suggested that as long as we took gumboots, lots of socks and could get dry (ie. pack a towel each, for each of the 5 days = 15 towels) we’d be fine. They’d done it last December and it rained. Every day. Torrentially.
Long discussions with Mr W resulted in us taking the comfortable route to ensure we didn’t ruin Christmas by putting ourselves in miserable circumstances with Master E. It is Christmas after all. The last thing we want is to arrive at the in-laws on Boxing Day in Central Otago after 5 days straight of camping in the rain in a soggy tent with no dry clothes or towels and glaring accusingly at eachother for the stupid naiive assumption that “oh its December, it’s summer, we’ll be fiiiine”.
Feeling like we’ve taken the easy way out but I think it’s the safer, saner way out! At least this way we’ll sleep in dry beds each night! Mr W raised a good point. How will the tent stay dry if we are attempting to put it up in the rain or if it starts raining before we put the fly on? And on the west coast, even if its not raining, its still wet and misty and humid. the coast is a narrow strip receiving plenty of precipitation off the southern alps on one side and the Tasman sea on the other.
Apparently February is a safe bet. Might think about this next time. This time around it is a whistle stop “taster” tour anyway. a bit of a “what’s over here” kind of stickybeak kind of tour.
So ..west coast journey now looks like this:
Wellington – Nelson – Westport – Hokitika – Franz Josef – Haast – Alexandra
16 hours over 5 days. nice. plenty of time to take in the views and stop for breaks. Like Pancake Rocks nr Punkaiki.
It’s even raining in Nelson right now. Wellington has just had rain and wind ALL week. and its nearly Christmas. very unusual.
So…cheap basic holiday park cabins it is. Except for Franz Josef. Booked a tree hut at Rainforest Holiday park. It has mixed reviews but there was little choice having left our booking so late. not to worry. We’ll spend Xmas Eve in the hot pools in a rainforest. Could think of worst ways to celebrate the festive season!
Oh. I haven’t started talking about the east coast yet. Ooops.
East coast now looks like this:
Alexandra – Moeraki Boulders – Temuka (hi Auntie Jeannie!) – Kaiapoi – Kaikoura (splash!) – Cloudy Bay (slurp) – Picton (sail) – Wellington (home)
14 hours over 5 days. easy.
Sadly, will not be spending New Years Day dinner eating beautifully cooked local seafood that even Rick Stein drools over at internationally renowned Fleur’s place (devastated). They are closed for Christmas/NY. Reopening on 3 Jan but hanging around for that didn’t leave us a reasonable amount of time to make our way back up the east coast.
So. we shall sit out the front of Fleur’s closed place on the beach on New Year’s Day. Drinking Cloudy Bay champagne and eating baked beans out of the camping stove pot. Wondering how the crayfish will taste 2 days later when we are far north in Kaiapoi. Hmmm. Might think a lil more on that one. Maybe leave a note expressing how sad I am and how much I loved Fleur’s book. And how I hope she’s enjoying her Christmas break. *sniff*.
Hopefully 2 nights at Franz Josef will make up for that. And the stunning views of Moeraki Bay and the boulders. Temuka will be our next stop where the lovely Auntie Jeannie lives. (Hi Jeannie!). Then on to Kaiapoi just north of CHCH. Jet boating is on the list for this lil place next time (Sorry Mr W – all booked out already).
Kaikoura promises to be A-mazing. incredible marine life including resident sperm whales can be seen on a tour. Happy to wait until Master E is older, after his last not-so-happy time on the ocean. I think Kaikoura would be the kind of place you’d want to spend a week. At least. Or maybe never leave. Oh how I LOVE the sea.
Finishing up in Whites Bay (of course!) near Blenheim before sailing home the following day.
*Phew* what an adventure…I can’t wait….!