7 March 2011
Murchison via the Pancake
Rocks (oops) and Shanty Town
to Franz Josef
7 March 2011
From Murchison via the Pancake Rocks (oops - we
missed them) and Shanty Town to Franz Josef
We're in New Zealand for one week now and we already did a lot of activities. White Island (active vulcano), rafting, Thermal area's, Walk & Cruise, etc
We are early out of bed on the Kiwi Holiday Park in Murchison at the moment the sun dispels the fog. It's going to be a fine day with a lot of sunshine. Next to our Holiday park there walks a deer and we walk to see it form close by. After this short intermezzo we pack all our goods in the campervan and leave the holiday park. This day will be a travelday which will end near the glaciers later this afternoon. On paper it's only 350 kilometers and a trip of that distance would take only 3,5 hour in the Netherlands, but here in New Zealand about 5 hours .
On the map you can't see that there are parts of the road where the maximum speed is between 15 - 40 kilometers because you have to cross a mountain range with climbing, decending and hairpins. But this is not a complaint because travelling through New Zealand is more then fantastic. Nature is pure and overwhelming so even a travel day is fun.
I did a bit to much fun as Karin wrote down in her Weblog:
"It is very relaxing to travel with Jaap because;
A - He's been here already 2 times;
B - We stop everywhere and everytime when we see something nice to make pictures. even for 5 minutes;
C - He knows his way through New Zeland, so no need to watch the map carefully;
Uhhhhhhhh only today it went a little bit wrong. Jaap thought for sure that the Pancake Rocks could be found past Greymouth and asked me, after we left Greymouth behind us to see on the map where the Pancake Rocks where exactly, but I could not easely find them. (Which woman doesn't recognize this?) . But Jaap had quickly noticed that earlier in the mountains he had taken a wrong turn, which we had missed the Pancake Rocks. We had to come somewhere between Westport and Greymouth on the West Coast, but hit the coast near Greymouth so we missed the Pancake Rocks with about 50 kilometers. we decided not to drive back, so next time better.
So we took or time looking at the map for an alternative activity ans decided to visit Shanty Town.Shanty Town is a restored and rebuilt old gold mining town. It is situatedat a short distance of the coastal road, so it wil not take a lot of extra time to visit.
At the parkingplace there is a whole bunch of oldtimers. We saw these cars before at the Queen Charlotte Drive. Because of their parking we now see the folders on the cars that they all are fundraising for hte victuums of the great Earthquake of Christchurch. After paying for our entrance we enter this small town and are back to the beginning of 1900. We experience the atmosphere there must have been in the days of gold mining. A number of buildings was originally and others were reconstructed in the same style, but we don't find that a problem.
We visit on old railway station with an old steam train. This train rides around this gold town twice an hour and you can take a ride. We visited a postoffice, the Golden Nugget Hotel with Saloon and a great hall (with dress up clothes), King Dick's Cafe (don't smile), a shoe shop, hairdresser, printing, carpentry, De Marsden Valley School from 1886, the Shanty Town Jail, the firehouse, the stables, the butcher, the jeweler, hospital and dentist, etc in short, a complete city from that time furnished with all the attributes of that time. One and an half hour and 125 pictures further we return to the campervan heading back to the westcoast.
Furthermore, driving along the coast road back to me very familiar; much by woods on both sides an impenetrable forest and occasionally overlooking the ocean. Sometimes from a higher road with truly stunning views and sometimes descend to the coast where you drive through a small town or village on a beautiful bay. At one point we see a beautiful river with rapids and I get out to take a picture, but I'm back in the campervan within 4 seconds. There appears to hang a cloud wasps at the rear of the campervan, so I took the pictures from the campervan. An hour later we passed a beautiful lake where Sonja was photographed on the dock. So Karin have to pose too, only the sun is out of the wrong corner at ths time of day for a clear photo. Still it's the same spot as 7,5 years ago.
It is about 16:30 pm when we arrive at the just before the town of Franz Josef at the Franz Josef Top 10 Holiday Park; We check in, get a pitch assigned and drive along to see where we will stay later. We drive a few kilometers to the small town of Franz Josef. We park the campervan and walk to the bookingoffice where I was before. We find out that they hosts their helicopter trips with a compagny down the street. They phone for us if there is still place for us to fly tomorrow. Luckely there is so we walk accross the street and make a booking for a HeliHike at the Franz Josef for the next morning at 10.00 am. We doing some shopping in a very small Supermarket in Franz Josef. We buy the same fleece jack. After this we make time for a relaxing seat on a terracce. We decide to enter the Supermarket again and now take 2 half hot chickens, that we consider as our dinner for today. We're lucky they taste very good. After this we drive the 2 kilometers back to the Hoiliday Park, park the campervan and go to bed after putting new pictures at the internet. Tomorrow the HeliHike is our goal.