Friday, 7th December – Arthur’s Pass to Hokitika

Awoke to an absolutely beautiful sunny day. Nice to see the mountains across the way wreathed in sunshine rather than cloud for a change:

Breakfast, then checked out of this wonderful place. Really sad to leave it – the ambience, peace, scenery and attentiveness of the staff have made this a terrific stay.

As Jean has lost her phone with some pictures of rather rare red mistletoe on it yesterday, we walked back to where the biggest clump of this is in New Zealand to take some more pics.

Not my idea to put this one in…. Well, I suppose it is near Christmas, after all

Then only a short drive to Hokitika on the west coast of South Island, but some stunning scenery on the way:

Checked into a motel in Hokitika, then decided to take a walk around. Not quite sure why Trailfinders put us here, to be honest – it’s a nice enough place, but we could have carried on to Franz Josef or had an extra night at the Wilderness Lodge which would have been preferable.

A converted shipwreck and a driftwood sign were about all we could find to remark on:

Nice, unpretentious meal at a pub in the town, then repaired to our room, which is clean with a kitchenette, but small. We have the wherewithal to make our own breakfast tomorrow.

The plan is to visit the Hokitika Gorge tomorrow morning on our way further south to Franz Josef. Sounds and looks beautiful, but we have had several warnings about the sandflies up there. We’ve both suffered from these evil little bastards on our travels, so this will be undertaken with the utmost circumspection.

I’ve also confirmed that we are booked onto a heli-hike at Franz Josef for Sunday. Helicopter ride up to the glacier, then a walk across it in spectacular scenery. Can’t wait, but first, we have to undertake the short journey to Franz Josef village tomorrow.

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