The West

The West of the South Island was spectacular although the sand flies certainly made themselves known on our bodies.  We made our way towards Haast, stopping at a few waterfalls and every other lay by!

The next morning we made our way towards Glacier Country.  We drove past beaches and through hundreds of kilometres of rainforest, which didn't feel like it could be the home of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.

Our first walk was to the Fox Glacier which sits at 13km long.  As we walked along, we could only see the tip and didn't really see the full size of it until we were at the viewing point.  However, the only way to truly appreciate the vastness of these glaciers is from above.  We chose to do a heli hike on the Franz Josef glacier, and after 4 minutes in the helicopter we were hiking on top of it. Since 2008 it has unfortunately been in a state of rapid retreat due to climate change. 

Our journey continued on through Arthurs Pass, a narrow but scenic road which we sadly hit during bad weather.

We spent a couple of days making our way towards Abel Tasman National Park. 

When we arrived at Abel Tasman we were greeted with golden beaches and crystal clear water.  Having no real experience kayaking we hired a dual sea kayak and, paddling out of sync, we explored the coastline.  One small beach caught our eye which had a rock and a single tree growing - it was a "picture perfect" spot.

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Our drive to Picton to catch the ferry took us by vineyards, forests, bays and the Marlborough Sounds.  With very little light pollution the sky was lit up by stars and our final camp spot on the South Island gave us a great view of the milky way.

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