Sunday, December 18, 2011


Our next night was spent in Haast, a coastal town just before the highway turns inland. We stayed at the Heartland World Heritage Hotel, which was a nice place with lovely lawns and a delightful cool breeze. No fridges in the rooms (apparently Haast is not connected to the national grid, so electricity is at a premium) but they stored our cold bag in their cooler for us. Not feeling up to driving into town to find somewhere to eat, we asked at the hotel’s restaurant, and the chef was happy to cook something suitable (and quite large portions) at a very reasonable price. Highly recommended.

After dinner we went for a short drive down the coast road towards Jackson Bay. Our plan had been to look for seals or penguins, however at our first stop along the beach we were promptly attacked by swarms of sand flies so we decided to curtail our drive and head back to the hotel.

We’re still getting used to the latitude here - we got back to our hotel around 9:30pm, in time to watch the sunset!

In the morning we drove east to Haast Pass. At the top, there’s a walking track up to a lookout. Not allowing ourselves to be put off by the steep switchbacks we could see, we grabbed our cameras and water bottles and set off. It was a very steep climb that took us 31 minutes, only a minute longer than the suggested walking time on the sign at the bottom, including several short stops and a rest on the seat provided half-way to catch our breath. But the view from the top was good. Walking down was a bit tricky on the sometimes loose gravel!

We stopped for a picnic lunch soon afterwards at a rest stop near Camp Flat overlooking the Makarora River.

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