Day Twenty Six/Seven: Bolting through Haast Pass!

Weather outlook at Shining Star in Hokitika? Can you say R-A-I-N? All night long we’d listened to it blow and gust and drum on the metal roof. At times it truly sounded like a train was going by. A very long freight train. Thankfully, due to a very small but efficient wall heater we were warm and toasty inside our rooms. I checked the prediction online and this is what I got:

Hoki weather 1

Hoki weather 2 rain rain rain

We took our sweet time getting ready, and finally it seemed like there was going to be a break in the rain. We stopped in town at Stella’s for some morning coffee and hot chocolate, the kept heading down the road to Treetop Walk.

Treetop 1 welcome

Treetop 2 walkways

Treetop 3 walkway substructure

Treetop 4 tree ferns from above

On the way to Treetop we saw a temporary road sign that said that Haast Pass was CLOSED. A bit of panic set in, as there is exactly ONE road between where we were in Hokitika and the town that we were going to be heading for the next day, Wanaka! If it’s closed then we wouldn’t be able to get to Wanaka without going back up through Greymouth, across to Christchurch (via Arthur’s Pass), down the east coast, and then inland/across to get to Wanaka. The difference in driving times? HUGE!!

Hokitika to Wanaka 418.6 km / about 5 hours

Hokitika to Wanaka
418.6 km / about 5 hours

After we finished up at Treetop Walk we went back to Hokitika to get some lunch and look in the shops. I was on a mission to return to a couple of shops that I’d been in on my first pass through a few weeks ago, mostly Tectonic Jade and Ian Phillips the sculptor (He was not at the shop this time and it was closed which was a bit of a bummer.)

Hokitika CBD  (photo by DK)

Hokitika CBD
(photo by DK)

Hokitika Revell Street  (photo by DK)

Hokitika Revell Street
(photo by DK)

Hoki Millies 1

Hoki Millies 2

Hoki Millies 3

Hoki Giant Hook

         Coffee to Go                    with              L'Escargot

Coffee to Go

Hoki Sock world 2

Hoki sock world 3

Hoki sock world 4

Hoki Sock World and Museum

Hoki Whitebait available

The weather was, to put it mildly, WET and it pretty much killed any thoughts of going out to the Hokitika Gorge Walk. It ended up being a quiet afternoon at Shining Star. We did make it across the road once it was dark to see the Glow Worm Dell.

The next morning it was GET UP AND GO! We stopped at Stella’s Cafe in Hokitika for one last coffee / mocha / hot chocolate before getting on the road to make a run for it through Haast Pass Road. There was a fairly major slide there last fall, and the road is closed EVERY night from 6 pm to 7 am. The pass is a long drive from Hokitika, and we were worried that if it rained any more there might be another slide and it would be closed closed closed. We ended up making the rather disappointing decision to cancel the early afternoon walk we were booked for at Franz Joseph Glacier, as there was NO WAY we would be able to get from there to the pass before it closed for the day. As it turned out we drove through a bit of rain and then it got nice. Photos to prove my point:

Stella 1 sign

Stella 2 table and painting

Stella 3 interior

Floor bee decal

Floor bee decal

No lack of local stones on the beach, and they put them to good use at Stella's!

No lack of local stones on the beach, and they put them to good use at Stella’s!

Stella 6 Thank You rock

Franz Joseph gas stop

Franz Joseph gas stop

"If you're going to kick authority in the teeth you might as well use two feet." -Keith Richards on Wicked Van

“If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth you might as well use two feet.”
-Keith Richards on Wicked Van

Wicked blind dates

"Never let a few lies get in the way of a good yarn." - on Wicked rental van

“Never let a few lies get in the way of a good yarn.”
– on Wicked rental van

Haast Pass traffic stop

Haast Pass traffic stop

We took a leg-stretch-get-out-for-a-few-minutes break at Ship Creek. Click for information about 1080.

Ship Creek stop 1

Ship Creek stop 2

Ship Creek stop 3

Ship Creek stop 4

1080 in use sign at Ship Creek.

1080 in use sign at Ship Creek.

We arrived in Wanaka to a brilliantly sunny and pretty windy late afternoon. We spent the night at Aspiring Campervan and Holiday Park. The lake is just beautiful and we had a good walk around before having some dinner. Daun and I and one of the girls walked back instead of taking the van– too much eating/driving/sitting is DEFINITELY starting to show on me and I’ve got to reign it in and get my step count back up again!!

Wanaka beach 1

Wahoo!! SUNSHINE in Wanaka!!!

Wahoo!! SUNSHINE in Wanaka!!!

Wanaka thumbs up with girls

Wanaka tree by water

Wanaka Whitebait and Wonderbread

Wanaka Yello!

Sorry for the delay in getting this posted!

The FREE wi-fi at Aspiring in Wanaka was impossible to get on… the network pretty much didn’t come up at all and if I was able to see it I still couldn’t get onto it!

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One Response to Day Twenty Six/Seven: Bolting through Haast Pass!

  1. Dian says:

    Great to know you made it through the Pass and the rain to further your adventure!
    It’s tough to be back in the states after such a wonderful escapade! I’ll just have to live through your eyes for the remaining travels.

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