On the road again

I love road trips. But trying to go too far too fast can throw off the balance between driving (which is lots of fun here with all of the twisty roads) and sight seeing. The plan goes from leisurely romp to race against time. In this case I needed to be near Dunedin on the east coast in less than two days, and I had decided to see how far up the west coast road I could get before then—once I drove over the Southern Alps.

Clearly my ambition got the best of me with this little overnight plan. But, it was still worth it, because I visited wilderness so unique it has been declared a World Heritage Area. It is mostly preserved within four national parks that cover much of the south and west coast, as well as areas inland. The landscape is very wild and beautiful, with rain forests, fjords, and glaciers. I went south to Jacksons Bay (or, as the settlers called it, “Bay of Disillusionment,”), where the road dead ends and the parkland begins. Then I turned around and went as far North along the Tasman Sea as I felt I could: to Bruce Bay (not nearly as far as I thought I would get!). The landscape is similar to the less inhabited parts of Hawaii—but also quite different since it’s so much farther away from the equator.

and now on to the photos!

Lake Hawaea, just east of Wanaka and its namesake lake

Toward Haast Pass—the most southern route over the Southern Alps

Fantail Falls—these powered a compressor for the machinery needed to build the road over Haast Pass

Where I'd hang out if I were a trout

Just over the pass

Named in a moment of exasperation, I thinkShetland pony by the beach

Down the road from the campsiteThe beachDown the road to find a campsite

The campgrounds near midnight