As we headed further south along the west coast of the NZ's South Island, we experienced a couple of "grey" days. I guess it was somehow appropriate that it all started in Greymouth!!
Greymouth is the largest town in the West Coast region of the South Island. It was founded on gold mining, but coal mining soon took over. It's name comes from the Grey River whose mouth is located here. We spent the night here, and the next day stopped at the site of the nearby former coal mine at Brunner. We also attempted to see Lake Brunner.
The Speight's Alehouse in Greymouth.
In New Zealand's worst mining disaster, 65 miners were killed by gas in the Brunner coal mine in 1896.
A memorial to the 65 coal miners who lost their lives here in 1896.
We didn't see much of Lake Brunner, but evidently it is the largest lake in the northwestern part of the South Island.
Due to a wrong turn, we drove around this lake for over an hour, and this was our view of Lake Brunner.
This memorial in Hari Hari honors the 21 y/o Australian aviator Guy Menzies. In 1931, he flew the first solo flight across the Tasman Sea. Starting in Sydney, he landed his plane the Southern Cross Junior in a flax field near here.
Franz Josef is the name for both a small village and a nearby alpine glacier. We stayed in the village, and we walked along the valley trail to the glacier the next day. Also nearby is Fox Glacier which we viewed only from the lookout.
The village of Franz Josef is about 5km from the glacier..
We walked by multiple waterfalls like this on our way to the Frank Josef Glacier.
These moss covered rocks were a common sight on our way to the Franz Josef Glacier.
This was as far as we were allowed to walk on the valley trail secondary to ice instability. For the past few years, flying in by helicopter is the only way you are allowed to walk on the glacier.Mount Aspiring National Park
We would be in and out of this large national park several times in the next few days.
A tree we saw on one of our walks to a waterfall in Mount Aspiring NP.
A waterfall at Mount Aspiring NP.
After leaving Mount Aspiring NP, we drove alongside (or between) Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea for miles before reaching our next stop at Wanaka.
Wanaka is a resort town that is popular for its nearby ski fields and also it's water sports. The town sits at the southern end of Lake Wanaka.
Our first view of Lake Hawea
Another view of Lake Hawea.
Known as the “Lone Tree of Lake Wanaka,” this is supposed to be the most photographed tree in all of New Zealand. I guess it's popularity increased after a photo of tree won NZ's 2014 photograph of the year. In all fairness, it was cloudy so we couldn't see the Southern Alps that surround the lake, and the tree wasn't surrounded by water secondary to decreased glacial melt or rainfall.
We were more impressed by this huge redwood tree, in a park above Lake Wanaka, than the tree pictured above.
This is a NZ grey duck hybrid. After mallards were introduced here, there are few pure grey ducks left.
This Australasian crested grebe is a threatened species in NZ.
The little shag is native to NZ.
Cardrona is an old gold rush town that has only two of it's original buildings intact. One of those buildings is the Cardrona Hotel; it was built in 1863. This is another popular area to come for skiing.
The Cardrona Hotel is supposed to be the most photographed hotel in NZ. The long time owner had a rule about how many beers his customer could drink. If the customer was going to Wanaka he could have 2 beers, but if he was going over the dangerous Crown Range, he was allowed only one.
An old Tesla pump repurposed as a charging station in Cardrona.
The Cardrona bra fence is controversial, and at times the bras are removed but more eventually show up. The farmer who owns the fence doesn't mind the bras being there, but some of the locals think they are an eyesore.