A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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South Island’s Wild West Coast


From Queenstown, we crossed the Southern Alps to drive up the South Island’s wild west coast.

Around Haast, the road turns north, through enormous stands of temperate rain forest, wetlands and waterfalls.




A few hours further on, the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers attract adventure-seekers from around the world. We hiked several miles to the terminal face of the glacier — and when we turned around we marveled at the size of the valley the glacier filled just a century ago.



As we continued north past Greymouth, we came to a stretch of road Lonely Planet has rated as one of the ten best drives on earth. It did not disappoint.


Midway between Greymouth and Westport, we stopped in Punakaiki at the Paparoa National Park to see the unusual Pancake Rocks (Conor thought they looked more like a layer cake than pancakes, but that’s another story).


The road turned inland at Westport, and as we reached Buller Gorge we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to cross NZ’s longest swingbridge. Caroline and Conor took the express route back.



Finally, after two long days and lots of amazing scenery, we reached Golden Bay in the northwest corner of the South Island. It has to be the mellowest place I’ve ever been – and a leading candidate for best place to drop off the face of the earth.


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