After exploring the Blue Pool Track we headed through Haast Pass on our way to Haast and the west coast of New Zealand.
Once to the township of Haast the west coast of New Zealand begins. The west coast is known for its Beech forests, silver ferns, and a TON of rain. From Haast we made our way north to the town of Fox Glacier where we would spend the night. When we arrived the sun was just setting. Once parked in our camping spot for the night I was able to get out of the van and snap a few shots of this brilliant alpen glow on the Southern Alps. Never before have I seen such colors of red and pink. It looked fake.
Amazingly enough, outside of adding a vignette, no editing was done to the color in this video. Unfortunately, my Canon 7D just doesn’t have the power to capture all the highlights and shadows that were present. The video just doesn’t do that sunset justice. I’ll remember these colors for the rest of my life. It was that spectacular.
An Abbreviated Lifeline
Day 39 was the start of the last segment of our New Zealand Adventure. It was around the one month mark that Ash and I decided that our 6 month move had quickly turned into a shorter two and a half month jaunt. We decided that since Wanaka and Queenstown weren’t having the best winter we would explore the rest of the country (the bits we hadn’t already seen). We rented another campervan for 25 days and would begin our journey north, ending in Auckland where we would fly on from there.
As we left Wanaka we headed north over the Haast Pass. The Haast pass was the last of the passes completed in New Zealand. After completed a full circle around the south island was possible. It wasn’t completed until as late as 1995. We found the drive to be just as beautiful as the drive to Milford Sound. It was steep, windy, and narrow but worth every second!
Haast Pass is a mountain pass in the Southern Alps of the South Island of New Zealand. It is named for Julius von Haast, a 19th century explorer who was also geologist for the Provincial government of Canterbury. It is one of the three passes where a road crosses over the Southern Alps, the other two being Lewis Pass and Arthur’s Pass. The road through Haast Pass (State Highway 6) was converted from a rough track to a formed road in 1966.and finally received a complete tarmac surface by 1995.
On the way through the Haast Pass are the Blue Pools.
The Blue Pools are just north of Makarora, located within the World Heritage listed Mount Aspiring National Park.
It features a carefully maintained gravel path and boardwalks that wind through a native silver beech forest and lead to a swing bridge strung high above the Makarora River. The views back to the mountains of the Main Divide are absolutely breath-taking.
The track continues deep into the forest, with bellbird and tui calls echoing through the trees, to a series of crystal clear pools that have been carved out of the rocks by centuries of erosion.
The glacier-fed water in these deep pools is the colour of deep azure blue, and so clear that you can see right to the bottom, making the resident brown trout look like they are suspended in the air.
Once to the township of Haast the west coast of New Zealand begins. The west coast is known for its Beech forests, silver ferns, and a TON of rain. From Haast we made our way north to the town of Fox Glacier where we would spend the night. When we arrived the sun was just setting. Once parked in our camping spot for the night I was able to get out of the car and snap a few shots of this brilliant alpen glow on the Southern Alps. Never before have I seen such colors of red. It looked fake. It looked like someone had painted the clouds and mountains. Ash and I stood outside for 20 minutes just watching the colors grow more and more vibrant before succumbing grays and blacks as the sun finally set.
Below is a map of our route from Wanaka, through Haast, into Fox Glacier.
View Larger Map
(All the photos are untouched. The colors you see below are completely real. In fact, the colors in the photos aren’t quite as vibrant as they were in real life!)