First trip to the West Coast? Check. Not to oversell it, but it really is impossible to decide which region of New Zealand is the most beautiful.
It was about a 5 hour drive from Christchurch, west through Arthur’s Pass and then south to Franz Josef Glacier. The weather didn’t give us ideal views, but it kept the sandflies (somewhat) under control.
I think my favorite part was the signs.
We camped at Lake Mapourika, a doc site just outside of town.
The next day we went on to Fox Glacier.
That afternoon we stopped off at the famous Lake Matheson, an incredibly calm, dark lake that gives a perfect reflection of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. Unfortunately, the lake was not calm enough (nor the weather clear enough) to allow for the famous views, but the walk was still beautiful.
Check out the picture on the doc site for what it’s supposed to look like!
Day 3 and 4 were spent tramping the Copland Track. An absolutely stunning walk through lush forest and along a bright blue river. It was a full day’s walk (we normally shave a bit of time off the estimates, but it took us all 7 hours) to get to Welcome Flat where we took a dip in the AMAZING natural hot pools, with a perfect view of the Sierra range. After relaxing our sore muscles and feet a bit, we doubled back about 3 hours to camp at Architect Creek. The stars that night were unbelievable.
SCALDING water bubbling up from the ground:
The trenches above leading the hot water to the pools below.
And a beautiful walk at dusk, back to where we would camp.
Since our walk was a little shorter on the second day, we decided to stop for a quick dip (VERY quick – it was FRIGID) and lay out in the sun. We ended up making it to the car just in time for the weather to completely crash, so we were thankful for the sunshine that we did get!