Lake Matheson to Makarora (and smiley faces)

Many of the small towns along our travels had flashing road signs as we approached the town boundaries…. 60…55…50… ūüôā …and small things amuse small minds. Well, that’s not such a nice thing to say about Jim (or correct, for that matter)! But the smiley faces worked… it became Jim’s goal to receive a smiley face every time we entered a small town with the flashing road sign which, when the goal of 50kph was reached, the smiley face flashed just for him! It did seem to be a West Coast thing as the smiley faces ceased once we got to Otago or Canterbury.


Steve continues his walk to the face of Fox Glacier.

But back to our travels … Fox Glacier was our next stop. [Info spot: Named in 1872 after a visit by then Prime Minister of New Zealand Sir William Fox.¬†In 1998¬†the name of the glacier was officially altered to Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe.]¬†The glacier car park is just a few kilometres off the highway with the nearest sighting point within easy walking distance from the car park. ¬†The glacier can be seen from about a third of the way along the track so I stopped there while Steve continued as far as he was permitted.

Time was running short as we still had two and a half hours to go to our overnight destination so we had one short break on the rest of the west coast. Knights Point is where the road meets the Tasman Sea again and awesome views can be seen to the north and the south. ¬†Unfortunately, the viewing platform is unsafe and cordoned off so views are limited. ¬†On reconsideration, I should have booked us into Haast for the night but Rosemary had not enjoyed a stop she and Steve had made there a couple of years ago so I chose the next “town” for our short stop.

Looking south from Knights Point



We passed through Haast township at dusk so missed many sights through the Haast Pass. ¬†However, water levels were very low so the Gates of Haast and Roaring Billy would not have been terribly impressive anyway. The trip seemed to take forever as we knew really not where we were going … just a name on a map… Makarora… with, hopefully, a well-equipped kitchen for Steve to cook tea and a couple of comfy beds for sleeping.

As we rounded yet another bend in the road we spied a car pulled over on the side. Someone was standing outside with what looked like a camera. ¬†Naturally, I immediately looked up to where the camera was pointing. “Wow! Look at that moon! ¬†Pull over! Pull over!”

Full moon rising through the Alps.

Another half an hour or so – ¬†the sign “MAKARORA”.

“Look for “Makarora Tourist Centre””.

“Was that it?”

“Mmmm… must have been cos we’re out of Makarora now…”

A quick U-turn, yes, a sign stating our accommodation… but all is dark and closed up. ¬†Oh well, we pull up in front of the “Reception” sign and there is our “welcome” cellotaped to the door with my name on it. Instructions are clear enough and we find our chalet.

Oh dear, for the second time in 3 nights we have the bathroom-through-bedroom situation.  Without going into details, that was not the only problem we had that night so Rosemary addressed the issues before paying in the morning and managed to get a reduction in our costs.  [Lesson learnt: do let management know if there are any issues with accommodation.  Apart from expecting to pay for comfort and use of facilities, management need to know so repairs can be done.]

Next… a frosty morning, more lakes but a 10/10 motel!