Wednesday, April 30, 2014

West coast adventures

    We left Queenstown on Monday and headed to the west coast via Haast pass.  It had snowed the night before and was VERY cold.  On the way to Haast, we drove through Wanaka and Lake Hawea, two towns we had already walked through on the TA.  It was a windy, steep and white knuckle drive over the pass toward the coast but it was a beautiful day.  We headed to a beach where we watched dozens of dolphins playing in the surf while we had lunch.  One of the coolest parts of the west coast is that the mountains are so close to the sea.  From the beach we could turn around and see the southern alps, it's beautiful!

Southern Alps and Lake Hawea

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Lake Matheson and Mount Cook

We spent that night in Fox Glacier a small tourist village near Mount Cook with beautiful views of the mountain and Fox glacier.  Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers are two large glaciers that are 13 and 12km long and descend from the Southern Alps and end in rain forest, only a couple hundred meters from the sea.  We took an easy walk to Lake Matheson, probably the most photographed spot of Mount Cook.  It was beautiful and being there in the evening we had great lighting on the mountain.      Yesterday we took a wonderful hike to the top of Mount Fox, which had some of the most stunning scenery we've seen in all of NZ.  The best part was to see the coast so close by and have the enormous mountains right next to us.  Apparently the weather hasn't been too nice here on the west coast for the last week or so, but we lucked out and have had perfect clear weather for 3 days now.  The hike was straight up over 1,300 meters and very difficult, but the views were worth all the effort.

Brazil Nut  on top of Mt Fox

Jetpack descending Mt Fox

View to the west coast from Mt Fox

Fox Glacier
    Today, I finally jumped from a plane at 15,000 feet! I've always wanted to go Sky diving and I figured what better place to go than in New Zealand!  It was one of the coolest things I've ever done!! It's so hard to describe- the scariest part was when they opened the door, sitting on the edge 15,000 up in the air right before we jumped.  What a rush!  It was so much fun, so exhilarating!!

  We're continuing up the west coast for the next few days and making our way to Wellington via ferry next Wednesday.
Thank for reading,
-Jetpack and Brazil Nut

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