Tractors, Pancakes and Sandflies day 14-16

We have experienced a change in location and weather in the last few days. Traveling from Abel Tasman toward the west coast ending in Franz Josef. We went from sunny and clear skies to rain near the glaciers. But, it is a common occurrence so nothing we weren’t prepared for. 

Day 14 

Our last full day in Abel Tasman National Park we decided to take a water taxi to the middle of the coastal track and hike about 4 hours north. Arriving at the taxi pickup location we were loaded on a boat and taken to the water by a tractor! 

Due to the low tide (changes 5m between high and low tide) they have to tractor all the boats out to where it is deep enough. At high tide the water is hitting the middle of the rocks in the picture below. 

After a quick boat ride we arrived at our dropoff location. Where, due to low tide, we got off the boat in knee deep water to reach the shore. 

Due to the location of the track we were hiking there were less people. Although there were not as many beach lookouts we enjoyed the vegetation and glimpses of clear water. 


We stopped halfway to enjoy our packed lunch at Bark Bay before we finished the hike. Our water taxi arrived early to pick us up and bring us back to the car park. 

After multiple days of spending time in the sun and hiking we enjoyed a relaxing evening at the lodge. 

Day 15 

We took our time in the morning to pack our bags and cook breakfast. Heading out around 10am we took our time driving to Paparoa National Park where the pancake rocks are located. 

After restroom, scenic, and lunch stops we reached the pancake rocks. 

After viewing the rocks we checked into our hostel/accommodations for the night. It was conveniently located within an 8min walk to the beach. The beach walk was through a damp forest and crossed a creek. We arrived at the beach to find a pebble like shore and lots of sandflies. Easiest way to describe sandflies is the size of nats that bite like mosquito! In addition they love to swarm around you. To prevent being bit you need deet bug spray and/or to keep moving. Luckily we had bug spray and came away with only a few bites. 

Day 16 

We headed out early and ate a muffin and banana for breakfast that we had purchased at the grocery store the day before. As always it is much cheaper to buy groceries instead of going out. Being gone for 30+ days this is one way we have been able to cut down on costs and make our days more flexible. And who doesn’t like peanut butter and jelly? 

Driving along the west coast (sandfly country) we stopped outside of Hokitika at the Hokitika Gorge. Although it was cloudy and sprinkling the water was still a beautiful blue color. 

There is a swing bridge that takes you across the gorge providing great views of the blue water. 

Due to the rain, sandflies and chilly (55 degree) weather we didn’t stay long. 

The west coast has two glaciers: Franz and Fox glacier. They are within a 30min driving distance from each other. Due to staying near Franz glacier we decided to take the 40min hike to the base of the glacier. Luckily we had packed our rain coats as it was raining during the whole walk. 

We got a few decent views of the glacier. 

We passed many waterfalls as we hiked to the glacier. 

After checking into our accommodations for the night (a mix of hostel and motel) we dried off and went out for a nice dinner! 

Tomorrow we are going on a heli hike on Fox glacier. And the weather is going to be nice! 


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