Cunninghams On Parade - 2017 New Zealand: Return to the Shire travel blog

Our first view of the Tasman Sea on the wild West Coast. ...

It looks like a camper convention at the Fox Glacier access parking...

It was a 30 minute walk to the glacier lookout.  This is...

This was as close as you could get to Fox without paying...

This is a zoomed in shot of the face of the glacier. ...

We camped on the property of the Historic Empire Hotel which had...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ross, New Zealand

TRAVEL QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” - Saint Augustine

Okay, guys. It has been brought to my attention (coughs…..Rob….coughs) that my daily entries may be a little on the “wordy” side and full of inane minutia - somewhere along the lines of daily entries reading like War and Peace. My apologies, Constant Readers, really…..if any of you are still awake that is! LOL. My intention with this travel journal is mostly as a diary for me so you are actually reading what I do, what I eat, what I think and what I feel as it happens and as if you were reading over my shoulder if I was writing in my actual diary. I have discovered as I get older that I appreciate remembering what I ate, what I paid, where I stayed, etc. because it gets all jumbled up over the years. You never believe it will when you are younger, but believe me, it does. And so hopefully, for any of you still awake out there, you have either decided you like hearing my voice and still skim the entries OR you have decided you prefer the Twitter version (looking at Art’s fabulous pictures and captions). I won’t hold it against you if you don’t prefer to follow my ramblings; I know at least my mom is reading every word, right Mom? Mom? Uh oh…….

Now back to our regularly lengthy entry…….

Woke up with the alarm at 7:30 this morning. Partly cloudy, maybe upper 50s. Not too bad. Got dressed, breakfast (power for toast again!) and straightened up the camper before heading out West about 9:50. We drove just a little further to Haast Junction and turned northward up the West Coast. Today was a mostly driving day - it took us about 2 hours driving to get to Fox Glacier, which is a small community (think Kurow or less) at the Fox Glacier. We have been here on all our trips except the first one and prefer it to the slightly larger, busier Franz Josef Glacier about 30kms away. It was misty rain off and on the last bit to the town and we pulled over and made our plan. Decided to drive to the Glacier Overlook parking area, about 4kms from town down a mostly paved road to a large parking area. Lots of cars and campers already there; parked and made our lunch and ate in the camper. Shared a ham and cheese sandwich and a banana and a coke. Got our jackets on as it was a bit chillier here, guess it is the chill coming off the glacier. We did the hike to the glacier overlook along with everyone else; it took about 30 minutes and had a serious uphill at the end as well as very small stream crossings via rocks in the water. No falls into the wet for me this time! It was a good viewpoint of the glacier but it was much retreated from the last time we saw it in 2010….sad. And it was dirtier and just much less impressive than it used to be. They had an information panel with pictures of it in 2008 and 2014 and the difference was startling; I hate to see it disappearing almost before our eyes. Jenny, glad you got to see it before it started getting puny!

Walked the 30 minutes back to the camper in the mist and drove back out. Stopped in the town again and parked. Tried to figure out our next move. While doing that, we called Rob and caught him at home enjoying his Saturday night. It was SO GOOD to talk to him - it’s been a while and I loved hearing his voice (waves wildly at Rob but I know he’s not reading this so……). Sounds like he and April are doing well; so glad to hear it. Talked for 20 minutes and then decided we would drive on to Franz Josef Glacier. Twisty, hilly road to there but not that far. Weather there still the same so we just gassed up ($1.61 per liter!) and moved on up the West Coast.

Spent the rest of the afternoon driving northward. The rain stopped but we could still see the mountains on our right in the clouds and mist. Coast to our left looked more clear and we were right in the middle - cloudy but not rainy. Left FJ about 4 and drove until just past 6 to Ross, our stop for the night. Pulled in and it’s a tiny town too, not much bigger than Duntroon. We pulled over and Art went into the Empire Hotel and Pub which runs a small motel/camper park next door and we paid $25NZ for a powered site. It was a small parking area but we backed in and luckily it is nowhere near as crowded as last night. Maybe 3-4 other cars there. Some people staying in a couple of the motel rooms but it’s pretty quiet here. We walked around the corner to the “main” street, went in the local convenience store and looked around for a few minutes. Bought a can of Wattie’s Instant Mince Curry sauce to try for dinner another night. Back to the camper and I made spaghetti for dinner and it was very good. Toasted the last couple of rolls too and we shared the last 2 of Art’s Stoke beers, the stout and the golden ale. We both agreed that the golden ale was the best of the whole bunch.

Did dishes and then about 9 went for a shower. It was, um, RUSTIC for sure - Jenny, you would have been skeeved out! LOL. But it was a big room and had a big shower cubicle. Hot water pressure was terrific and it was hot water as long as you wanted - yay! Except when I got out the entire floor had flooded and it went outside the door to the outside (I guess they build it to drain this way). I just dressed, bemoaned that the good shower turned stinky at the end and made my way back to the camper. Put dishes away and then caught up on the journal - it takes TIME people to write War and Peace every night! LOL

Finally settled down to use the internet data a little to figure out about a possible bike ride tomorrow and then headed to sleep about 11.

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