Cruising

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Martin Luther King Jr

Continuing south along the west coast. Some very interesting country. Beautiful beaches. Some crowded some deserted. Paparoa national park with some great hikes through the forests. Forest very different than boreal forests I am used to. Tree ferns, ferns, dozens of species of trees unidentified by me. Spectacular! Zak and I commented given the choice- bushwhacking in Alaska, even in the worst alders would be easier than cutting through the slack jacks and ferns and undergrowth here.

Punakaiki
Great forest trail Punakaiki
Pine tree over camp

Hiked Cape Foulwind to watch fur seals. Wanted to see more glowworms but worried about getting sucked into touristy stuff. Tours were NZ$180 which seemed extreme and hoaky. I made arrangements at camper park nearby, and he was very helpful listing other activities and potential cheaper options. We arrived and checked out the tour, quickly agreeing to try it. Great decision 4 hour tour turned into 5 when someone was having trouble inside the cave. Started with Bus ride, train ride through forest, hike through forest and stairs up to cave entry. Great cave as they described it as natural with no lights or asphalt walkway. They provided helmet with headlamp as well as full wet suit for water.

Caves were great, although I am not a caver. But near the end ran into water and began floating through the dark with only the glowworms for light. Amazing galaxies of spectacular light. Apparently this is largest glowworm congregation in world. Spectacular! Then floated on inner tubes down the river back to train.

The worms are larvae of a fly which attracts mosquitos and sandflies to the light, catching them in a sticky string like substance they create. The larvae live about 9 months then turn into flies and live about 2 days breeding then dieing.

Nile River train
Stalagmites & stalagtites
Crew after cave
Cave exit
Begin river float in cave
J. R.
Inner tubing

More hiking and went to pancake rocks, an interesting limestone formation with blow holes. High tide and managed to get wet.

Cruising on south staying in camper parks. People are great but one incident yesterday. Arrived in mountains and towns reminded us of talkeetna, helicopters flying constantly on flightseeing tours. We wanted to go hiking so arrived early at Fox glacier camper park. Got two spaces and put our tables and chairs in spots hopefully to reserve while hiking to Fox glacier (the glacier as opposed to the town). Great hike although glacier reversing a long way up valley. Wondered about the rock (metamorphic) but all info signs about climate change.

Fox glacier and friends

Returned to camper park and a big RV (by New Zealand standards) was in our spot. Our table and one chair were moved to our other spot. One chair remained behind his RV. Jeanne mentioned something about taking our spot and he just ignored her. I said I was getting our chair and he ignored me. We backed into the one spot and Zak & Natasha moved down the row.

That evening when we went to bed listened to the RV family argue and state this place was awful as their parking was just a mud hole. The kids were about throughout the afternoon and evening just swearing at each other. They were in trouble for tracking mud in RV. Tears and yelling.

In the morning more complaints and they left. It was a bit of mud as it rained most of night. Karma I guess is real.

Ok one not so nice kiwi, everyone else has been outstandingly pleasant.

then today we thought it rained last night but that was just mist. As we entered mt aspiring national park it began to rain- hard. Apparently they get about 4500 mm of rain a year (about 13 feet). Waterfalls were falling onto the road and rivers raging. The front windscreen was fogging up constantly and blowers could not keep up with moisture. Interesting driving.

And dozens of one way bridges, requiring one to know the rules of the road.

Waterfall traffic
Thunder falls 24 meters tall and raging river
Glendhu campground Wanaka

Driving was fun and I seem to be still learning. Have only twice turned onto right lane going wrong way, both times catching myself and quickly correcting. Rarely turn on windshield wipers to signal a turn anymore. (Turn signals are on right side of steering column, opposite of home) and almost always go to right side of car to drive.

Roads are good although narrower. I believe most lanes are 3 meters instead of the 12 feet at home and almost no shoulder. And winding- today was 116 kilometers direct, but road was 260 kilometers which took 5 hours. Speed limit is 100 Kph but you do the math. Would have been more fun with a stick shift, instead of automatic.

Arrived Wanaka, a tourist resort town summer and winter. Zak and Natasha looking for jobs about here as a recreation area. The camper park is yet another fully loaded 250 space area, packed in. I confess I am getting tired of camper parks. Would like to just freedom camp, but illegal here.

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