Ten AM we got woken up and kicked out of our hostel in Arthur’s Pass. With most of our clothes still dripping from the rain the night before, we figured a quick hike in the rain wouldn’t make them any worse. An awesome waterfall was raging at the top of a twenty minute trail off the highway. Back in the car we ventured through the rest of Arthur’s Pass and made it to the west coast. After a series of one way bridges (some hogged by semis) we hit a gorgeous beach. Sand flies biting our legs forced a quick getaway.
Halfway down the west coast are the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. They’re situated down valley from Mt. Cook in the middle of a lush jungle and feed a river that flows straight into the Pacific. Because I blew so much on Bungy Jumping and Skydiving, a $100 guided trip on the ice seemed a bit spendy. I’m still looking into a return trip con crampons.
Saying goodbye to Franz Josef, we continued down the coast and made the beautiful drive from Haast to Wanaka. The mountain town is remarkably similar to Queenstown but without so much tourist action. High above in the southern alps are Snow Park, Cardrona and Treble Cone skifields. Local advice said Treble Cone had the best terrain and snow. The view from the summit is pretty spectacular…
Mt. Cook, Mt. Aspiring and the rest of the Southern Alps spread out across the panorama view. You can hear helicopters buzzing around as they drop skiers and boarders on distant peaks. We had pretty decent snow and access to some fun cliffs from the summit and lapped that all day.
I dreamed off taking runs off the backside of the resort like this chute…but without avy gear it was a no go.
A night of partying in a couple clubs capped off the epic weekend. The next day with tripped it back to Dunedin and returned our beat up rental car. The South Island really is a beautiful place.