We have just finished celebrating Christmas in Wanaka, as we think of family and friends back home, we have decided to update our blog. Since our last entry, we have been steadily moving down the West Coast where we stopped by Goldsborough, the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and the Copland Valley before making our way inland via the Haast Pass to Wanaka.
Eureka! We found gold in Shamrock Creek, where we spent a few hours fossicking (gold panning) for placer gold at the historic site of Goldsborough. Though our yields were modest, it was an entertaining way to spend a sunny afternoon. We also stopped by Ross further down the coast, an historic gold town where we had a pint at the “best watering hole on the South Island”.
As we continued southwards, we stopped by the famous Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. These glaciers are unique due to their proximity to the ocean at these latitudes which was evident by the presence of palm trees at various lookouts.
We spent a night at Gillespies Beach on the Tasman Sea from where view of Mount Cook and the Southern Alps were memorizing, especially at sunset (we couldn’t decided whether to face the mountains or the ocean). We woke up early the next morning to hike around Lake Matheson where the views of Mount Cook were reflected in the tranquil waters.
Next, we headed inland on the Copland Track, lured by the prospect of bathing in the hot springs at the Welcome Flat Hut. The trail followed the turquoise waters of the Copland River which meandered through a glacial valley surrounded by numerous snow-capped peaks. Several suspension bridges spanned water which cascaded down hanging valleys to join the Copland River.
After spending Christmas Eve at Pleasant Flat in Mount Aspiring National Park, we spent Christmas Day swimming in the Blue Pools of the Makarora River and in Lake Wanaka. We cracked open our finest wine from the Martinborough Vineyard to accompany our Christmas dinner. Merry Christmas everyone!