There’s a good reason for the delay…honest

(August 31st 2006)

I know, I know, I’ve neglected this blog for a long time…over a month in fact but I have an excuse. We have 4 days to travel from Picton (where the ferry arrives on the south island) to Franz Josef (the first place on the south island that we have booked accommodation in). The problem is we can’t decide which way to travel. Do we loiter in the north, around Picton, Nelson and Blenheim before zooming down the west coast to Franz Josef? Or do we make a side trip to Kaikoura ( about 2 days) and then go across the Lewis Pass to experience the mountains? I admit I like thought of traversing the Southern Alps so I’m looking into that idea a bit more than the other. I keep getting told there are loads of motels dotted around so there shouldn’t be that much of a problem to find somewhere to sleep en-route.
If we do see whales in the North Island then we probably won’t go to Kaikoura as it’s the whale watching capital of New Zealand. That’ll allow us to mooch around the wine region around Blenheim. Known around the world for it’s gorgeous wines, this is the Marlborough region. Supposedly the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world is grown here (Cloudy Bay or Montana anyone?). Hmm might have to try some of that.
About 3 hours from Blenheim is Hamner Springs (click here to see a live webcam)which is home to thermal pools and is a very popular destination in it’s own right. Then about 2 1/2 hours drive after that is Greymouth, the largest town on the west coast. The drive across the mountains should be pretty cool. The Lewis Pass is the most northerly of the three passes and the second highest (click here for some photos).
Once on the other side, we have a drive down the west coast to Franz Josef (again about 2-3 hours).
So….do we spend a couple of nights in Blenheim, one night in Hamner Springs, and one night in Greymouth (or nearby)? I think that sounds pretty cool. Let’s see if the other half agrees and we’ll go book something.

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