From Pancake Rocks to rainy sounds

We continued our way along the rugged West Coast through native rainforest and admired the impressive Pancake Rocks, so called as they resemble giant slices of limestone rocks.

Coming into view further south were the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, which flow almost down to sea level. We hiked through the valleys to see both from nearby, but unfortunately the access to explore them out on the ice was only allowed to costly guided tours.

The landscape changed again as we came closer to the breathtaking Wanaka Lake with its clear blue water lying in a dramatic glacier carved basin. The scenic route took us to neighbouring Queenstown with its Z-shaped Lake Wakatipu, where we enjoyed eating the huge and famous Fergburger and ice cream in Queenstown, both meals in itself. After a bouldering afternoon with new friends we were happy to discover the scenic Moke Lake nearby, where director Jane Campion was filming a new six-part TV Thriller.

Five hours later, the Milford Sound awaited us with heavy rainfall; in this way we were spared the swarms of sandflies that normally ate us alive.

I ventured onto the 32-km Routeburn Track. The rainfall transformed the path into waterfalls and made it nearly impossible to catch a glimpse of the spectacular mountain scenery and both Harris and Mackenzie lakes through the fog. However, one highlight of the trail was crossing a wooden bridge and being soaked to the skin by one of the waterfalls, much larger after all the rain.

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