There is a lot to see in New Zealand, so much to see in fact that you just have to accept that you won’t see a fraction of it, even at a hectic pace. You can hit the highlights of course, but even the highlights are vast. There is also a lot of driving to be done on the two island country that is a little smaller than California. The driving that we experienced was usually on winding, narrow, two lane roads and every journey took longer than anticipated. There is even a tag on the steering wheel when you get your rental car that reminds the driver to drive on the left side of the road and that, “Journeys may take longer than expected in New Zealand. Plan accordingly.” It wasn’t just the driving conditions that slowed us down though, it was the views and those darn DOC (Department of Conservation) signs along the road (and because you are driving slowly you have plenty of time to read every word) advertising all the beautiful wonders to behold if you only park the car and take the track.
We drove from Wanaka to Fox Glacier, a three hour drive that ended up taking most of the day because we kept stopping to take pictures. This mountain looked especially intimidating.
This meadow/ mountain combo was too pristine to pass by without a photo.
We had planned this stop at the Blue Pools Walk along Haast Highway (the most gorgeous stretch of road).
The Blue Pools are blue because the water is so cold. Just kidding, but they are glacier fed and the temperature of the water will take your breath away. Scott dove in…
Ashley went in for an invigorating swim…
Grant went feet first…He’s jumping, although it looks like he’s sitting on the rock.
My favorite unexpected find though was a rocky beach full of cairns. We stopped along the way to take a quick walk to a waterfall. The waterfall was just a few minutes from the parking lot, but it was really only the backdrop for hundreds of rock sculptures created by people visiting the waterfall.
Grant had fun skipping rocks.
Scott added to the art.
I think this one looks like an owl perched on a platform.
Scott preferred the challenge of building with the big rocks.
This piece was Ashley’s favorite.
Ashley and I built a cairn.
This was our first look at the West Coast of New Zealand and just a little farther (ha ha) up the road we found Fox Glacier and our destination for the night.
Although the distance was not that great, the hours in the car were many and just like a long hike over a short distance, I found myself contemplating what I could learn from the journey. It had been a long trip with many pit stops and beautiful scenery, but the day surprised me with its complexity and depth. There is a lot to be discovered around the bend and down the road and by taking the path, any path. Sometimes you find what you were looking for and sometimes there is a surprise, like the waterfall path to the beautiful rock garden created by many hands from all over the world and maintained through respect. It can be slow going, but the scenery might be beautiful, you’ll see more and there may even be a surprise waiting to be discovered.