Friday, 25 November 2016

The Wet Coast


Well, once again we have succumbed to the West Coast rain. Two weeks ago today torrential rain started at Lake Kaniere and it hasn't really stopped since. While I was laying in bed last night listening once again to the loud drumming on the roof- and it had been steady for the last 48hrs- I counted out the fine days we'd had since the lake- 4 days, FOUR bloody days, that's four days of sun in two weeks. OK, I lie, there has probably been an extra four or five hours of sun here and there but basically it has persisted down non-stop for the last two weeks.

Franz Josef  NZMCA Park
And I know you can't have a rainforest without the rain but this has just been ridiculous! It's just as well we managed to visit most of the attractions during our winter visit otherwise I'd be seriously peeved off. And it's also just as well we managed a fine day to visit the white herons, the number one reason for our revisit to the Coast.

In the end we gave it our best shot, we even sat through 4 days of rain out of the 5 we had at Franz Josef before deciding this morning that it was time to head to the sun before we lost our.... (check the van name).

We did have a welcome distraction for a couple of nights though, our friend Jan and our favourite dog Blue came to visit. Jan had been to Cromwell in her motorhome and was heading back to her home near Picton, via the West Coast so she could say hello to us. We had a lovely couple of nights despite the wet weather and Bluey was a very spoilt dog. He was allowed inside the van where he made himself right at home. If you know David, you'd know that he doesn't allow just any dog in the van (cellphone photo).

It was a mass exodus out of the Franz Josef this morning in the pouring rain. Most of the vans were heading north including Jan & Bluey. We were heading south.

 I decided on a new name for the 5th-wheeler- I changed it from 'Out There' to 'Outta Here'.

The rain had settled into a heavy drizzle as we passed through Franz Josef village. 

I feel very sorry for the tourists that are on a time schedule, most are driving 'the tourist loop' around the South Island and are including the very long drive along the Coast to see the glaciers which remain hidden all the time the weather is like this.

On the only fine day we had, I drove to Franz Josef Glacier do one of the walks I'd missed when we'd visited during winter. I couldn't get into that walk's carpark (admittedly it was small) but then I couldn't get a park at the main car park where there are three large areas either, they were all full of campervans and hire cars. It was like Piccadilly Station, so I took a couple of photos, got back in the car and drove home.

Today, Fox Glacier was also shrouded in mist and raining as we drove through... 

And it continued to rain all the way south. We passed at least 8 cyclists along the way; you have to take your hat off to their dogged determination. Cycling along miles from nowhere; uphill and down dale, soaked through and no doubt cold on a day like today. They also take their lives into their own hands on such narrow roads with so much traffic and drivers that are often unfamiliar with the road and in some cases driving!

We had a short delay at one of the one way bridges waiting for the Stop/Go man to change his sign. I thought they might have been putting up the Christmas lights...but I think they're just giving the bridge a makeover.

We stopped at Bruce Bay for lunch and it lived up to it's reputation today- wild and windswept with waves crashing on the rocks. 

The West Coast of tourist brochure also known by us as the Wet Coast. As someone said to us, "Don't you know it has a silent 's' ". 

Approaching Haast, and along with the rain, the wind is now howling a gale outside.

Across the long one way Haast River bridge and the weather doesn't look like it's getting any better up in the the mountains.

Nope, that looks like rain.

We pull into a small layby on the edge of the Haast River to let the cars behind past and I take the opportunity of clicking a few photos looking down the river back towards the Coast. 

We pass through the Gates of Haast and crawl up to the top of Haast Pass and the rain is still persistant. 

And it rained all the way down the other side and onto Makarora and out the other side, as we drove alongside Lake Wanaka.

The road was dry but the spots still heavy on the screen as we passed through The Neck and onto Lake Hawea.

We stopped at the lookout and I had just enough time to take a few shots before the rain caught us up.


We carried on, finally leaving the wet weather behind as we passed Lake Hawea township. Shortly after we pulled into the Albert Town campground on the banks of the Clutha River, near Wanaka, where it looks like they haven't seen a drop of rain in weeks!

Pity that, because I have the feeling we brought it with us. As I type I can hear big fat plops on the roof.


  1. Couldn't agree more with the name 'Wet Coast' :). Just curious how accurate was the weather forecast regarding the rain?

    1. Well the forecast was actually very accurate! We just didn't believe it! :)


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