In the last 24 hours, we changed our initial plans and went from the glaciers (a few seconds by the Franz Josef Glacier) to the sea to spend the night in another great wilderness lodge run by the same family as the one in Arthur’s Pass. This other very special accomodation is nested in the New Zealand rainforest.
We liked the Australian one very much, but it was full of harmful animals and insects. This one was much more friendly as there are only birds, trees and plants. Probably some insects, but we did not see any during our 2 hours walk on the Monro Beach track. This path took us to a picture perfect beach…that is, until we encountered the ferocious, near man-eating, sand flies. After 5 minutes on the sand, we ran back to take shelter in the forest, regretting what could have been and idyllic beach moment.
We walked back to the lodge and jumped in a few kayaks to discover Lake Moeraki. What bliss ! A lake entirely surrounded by mountains and rainforest. Black swans, herons and ducks chatting away at dusk. Trouts jumping out of the water and best of all, not a soul in sight. Check it out.
After dinner, and just before an incredible downpour of tropical rain, Jerry (the lodge owner and New Zealand Conservation Ambassador) took us to see the glow worms. We were walking on the outskirts of the forest at night and in pitch black, lit only by those amazing micro-organisms. Incredible ! So we signed up for an early walk this morning. Jerry took us through the forest to the river where we fed New Zealand longfin eels. These specimens are simply enormous. Alvar was very brave and helped Jerry giving the river monsters their breakfast (feed the eels with Alvar). Yuckkk!
After another tour on the kayaks, we took the car and drove down the only road on the west coast. A tad long, but the scenery is breathtaking and every waterfall or scenic viewpoint is worth a stop. We went from the sea to the mountains again. We stopped often as the kids enjoyed throwing stones into creeks and lakes.
And after the most winding road we ever drove on, we arrived late this afternoon in Queenstown.
We see and experience so many things every day, that if it was not for this blog, we would forget half of it before the end of our trip. We have been really fortunate. All our plans are working out smoothly, activities are always available, babies are welcome, and the weather is just how we like it, between 15 and 25 degrees. We are now half way through our journey, and about to discover one of New Zealand’s wonders: Milford sound. Stay tuned.