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General Category => General Forum => Topic started by: Kiwithrottlejockey on May 10, 2010, 12:40:17 am

Title: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on May 10, 2010, 12:40:17 am

The magnificent desolation of Haast

Edge of the earth!

By PETER REID - The Dominion Post | Saturday, 07 March 2009

SHADOWLANDS: A setting sun and unsettled sky bring
a relentless feeling of solitude to Haast Beach.
— PETER REID/The Dominion Post.

Remoteness, isolation, desolation — three things you're unlikely to demand from a holiday, I'm guessing.

Yet, for some, desolation can be inspiring and romantic. So, yes, while New Zealand offers its fair share of extreme sports and snow-capped vistas, it also possesses something often overlooked: nothing. Glorious, beautiful nothing.

If you're someone who finds the idea of being miles from anywhere appealing, of being free from cellphone ringtones and irate motorists, of finding space, then Haast, on the South Island's West Coast, might be for you.

My girlfriend and I, travellers from Ireland and Britain, never intended Haast to be more than an overnight stop en route from Wanaka to Fox Glacier. We were soon won over by its rustic charm and magnificent desolation.

Nestling unassumingly where the coast rises into the mountains and rainforest of South Westland, Haast consists of three main zones: Haast Township, Haast Junction and Haast Beach.

With a population of 297, the majority of "Haastafarians" live in the township, a small pocket of civilisation where you'll find accommodation for most budgets, a restaurant bar, a mini-supermarket and, just up the road, the visitors' centre.

But then it's not about Haast itself; it's about its position within that beautiful nothingness. It was only when we ventured out that we began to get a sense of the environs: the emptiness, the space.

Heading south, we drove along a straight road disappearing into the vanishing point, the ocean crashing on our right, clouds of wind-swept heather to our left. Vast banks of wetlands soon scrolled into view, no doubt hiding a multitude of species.

From bird life to seal and penguin colonies, nature is everywhere in the Haast region, and the lifeblood of the many organised river safaris.

Within a few minutes we had arrived at Okuru Beach, a deserted fishing hamlet, and took a walk along its craggy beach, the tide not so much rolling in as seeping in from obtuse angles, sweeping into strange puddles, melting and eddying around jagged ancient rock formations. We were the only people on the beach until a resident joined us, a bright-eyed labrador who insisted we play fetch with him. Soon he was gone, and we were alone again.

Jackson Bay is about 45 minutes from Haast, and the southern-most point on the West Coast where the road literally, well, ceases.

Passing only a few cars on the journey, we entered the village with a feeling that this really was New Zealand's ultimate cul-de-sac.

Not in a bad way, though; from Farewell Spit on New Zealand's South Island to Land's End back in Britain, there's something inherently appealing about going as far as you can, venturing to the very edge, and this really was a frontier of sorts.

As if to echo my sentiments, a splintered wooden sign, hand-painted in greasy green paint and hanging from a shack, said: The End Of The Road? I was intrigued by the question mark. For me, there was no doubt — we really could go no further. Actually, it felt more like the end of the world.

Jackson Bay is another fishing village of some historical significance. Originally settled in 1875, immigrants hoping to start a new life found their hopes drowned as relentless downpours destroyed their farms.

Pleas to the government for assistance in building a wharf were ignored, meaning the town was soon isolated and in need of vital supplies. A road to the village was not built until the 1960s and by then, the farming communities were long gone.

Today, it is a privilege to enjoy that sense of isolation, exactly what proved the downfall for those early settlers.

Modern-day Jackson Bay has fishing very much at its heart. Rusted, salt-encrusted metal contraptions sit alongside all manner of hulking, spike-adorned paraphernalia.

Below the wooden jetty, among frolicking seals, fishing boats bob on grey water, their pilots clad in grimy waders and gumboots, their weather- beaten faces telling more than a thousand shanties ever could.

The Cray Pot provides the centrepiece to the village: a cafe in a portacabin serving fish and chips, whitebait and other locally caught seafood.

It's the perfect place to sit and hear tall tales of giant squid and mermaid sightings, and its reputation is such that blackboards advertise its wares along the main road all the way back to Haast.

After a day of big skies, near-silence and solitude we made our way back to Haast, calling in at Haast Beach on our return.

A huge swath of shale along the coast, Haast Beach was, as expected, deserted, and strewn with oceanic bric-a-brac, the blustering wind and the crashing waves the only sounds.

As the sun cast long shadows in the golden twilight, and my girlfriend and I meandered, I realised that Haast provided the perfect antidote to our previous two locations, Queenstown and Wanaka.

Haast was quiet time. Haast was thinking time. Haast was great!


Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on May 10, 2010, 12:47:18 am

Franz Josef: A world of ice

Exploring Franz Josef is a family affair for Jill Worrall.

By JILL WORRALL - The Timaru Herald | Monday, 09 November 2009

END OF THE LINE: The terminal face of the Franz Josef Glacier.

If this story has a stamp of maternal pride, forgive me and feel free to turn over to the sport section.

However, if you can bear it, I'll take you into a world of ice, one of the most dynamic forces to shape our planet.

This is the catch-them-while-you-can realm of glaciers and in particular one of the world's fastest flowing – Franz Josef, in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park.

It's also one of the steepest glaciers and one of the few to descend almost to sea level into temperate forest.

My son Jono, who did all his schooling in Geraldine, is a guide here, working for the Ngai Tahu-owned Franz Josef Glacier Guides.

Five days a week for the past year he has taken parties of mostly overseas tourists on the 45-minute walk to the terminal of the Franz and where necessary cajoled them up the terminal face and then guided them into icy, crevass-slashed terrain that extends 12km back into the Southern Alps. Then he walks them out again.

He takes the fit, the "not as fit as I thought I was", the complainers, the enthusiasts and the won't-listen-to-instructions clients and introduces them to a landscape that few could tackle safely on their own.

As a tour guide specialising in taking Kiwis overseas, I recognise the personality types. They can be demanding enough for me in my late 40s to deal with.

Add to that the challenges of the natural hazards that abound in an alpine environment and the physical demands of wielding a heavy ice axe all day to cut and clear steps and he's out of my league. I'm full of admiration ... and that's the end of the maternal brag.

I first saw the Franz Josef when I was about 10 years old. Back then the terminal face was much further back up the valley and almost everyone you met on the short walk to the glacier itself was a Kiwi.

I can't remember seeing anyone venturing very far on to the ice itself though – back then, the Franz was, for most of us, something to admire from a safe distance. I never dreamed that one day I'd get to clamber among its ice cliffs and crevasses.

But nowadays, several hundred people a day are guided on to the ice, either starting with a walk from the carpark or on a heli-hike that involves a short helicopter ride up on to the glacier itself and then exploration by foot. As it is in a national park, Franz Josef falls under the authority of the Department of Conservation which actively discourages people from climbing the glacier unless they are either an experienced climber or have a guide with them.

The fatalities earlier this year on the Fox Glacier are ample evidence of why it is not a good idea to flout the guidelines.

So, recently instead of having a well-earned day off, Jono took me up on the glacier. My first challenge was putting on crampons. We did this just a few metres from the terminal face and the sight of spry 20-pluses climbing up what looked like a near-vertical cliff of shifting glacial moraine did nothing for my concentration.

It was only when Jono mentioned that if some of his more air-headed clients could do it then surely his Mum could, that I applied myself properly to the task.

It was also at this point that I reminded him that just five months ago I'd had a total hip replacement. This was going to be its first big test; this time a year ago I could not even tie up my own left shoelace or turn a bicycle pedal. Was this going to be one crampon too far?

My crampons squeaking on the rock, I made my way gingerly to the first ropeline and series of steps. Beside us milky water gushed from an ice cavern gouged near the centre of the glacier's snout.

Every now and then a trickle of rock would ripple down the precipitous slope nearby.

I decided not to look down either side of the narrow ridge we were negotiating. Already the bed of the Waiho River seemed a long way below.

Each morning it is the guides' job to check the ropelines, recut steps (glaciers, although at first appearing immobile, are continuously in motion and can move many metres a day).

Ice melt and the regular foot traffic means that guides have to constantly reshape the steps during the day, which is why they all carry heavy axes.

After just a few pauses to admire the view (OK, it was to get my breath back) I emerged at the top of the terminal face – my new hip was still with me and I had not tripped on my crampons.

Ice, dark with moraine, surrounded us like mine tailings. Mica glinted from the slivers of schist.

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/Travel%20Articles%20Pix/3046283s-09Nov09.jpg) (http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/Travel%20Articles%20Pix/3046307s-09Nov09.jpg)
LOOKING AFTER MUM: Jono Meadowcroft on the Franz Josef glacier (left).
CHALLENGING: Journeying through an ice cave is not for the faint-hearted (right).

From here we plunged into the ice – sunlight sparkled on the crystalline surfaces and illuminated the aquamarine blues that lay beneath.

We passed through canyons of sinuous, glassy walls where thin layers of glacial dust lay trapped in rippled layers.

There were moulins too – depressions where once water had swirled to create near circular depressions.

This was not the quiet frozen world I expected ... water gurgled and splashed under our feet.

We stopped at a water-worn cave and peered down to see a subterranean stream rushing with water that had fallen as snow before I was born. It takes about two years just for a snow flake to transform into a single sand-sized particle of ice.

From the top of an ice cliff there was a close-up view of the icefield that lay higher up the glacier. Here the river of ice tumbled down in a tangle of seracs (ice peaks) and yawning crevasses, their depths glowing a luminous blue.

I asked Jono if he had been in the icefield.

"I sat here once and watched slabs of ice the size of cars falling down from there," he said.

On the glacier's northern flank, the valley's rock walls were striated with scratches hewn into the rock by the glacier in an earlier advance. The ice was shaped in smooth low hummocks, a complete contrast to the canyons we had just passed through.

Even after just one year, Jono said he could see the depth of ice against the valley wall had decreased. During the 1980s and 90s the Franz was one of the few glaciers in the world to advance, but today its terminal face seems to be stationary. The still-high snowfalls (up to 30 metres a year) in the nevee or snowfield at its head are balancing the thaw lower down. How long this will continue, no-one is sure.

We crossed the glacier to the far side – Jono cutting out steps and creating showers of ice crystals.

A waterfall cascaded down from a hanging valley above. Here meltwater was accumulating in pools and pouring out slashes in the ice known as compression caves.

We ate lunch perched on boulders trapped in the ice.

There were no keas about but Jono pointed to a neat hole in the top of his backpack. The Franz keas have worked out exactly where the guides have buried a snack in their bags and extract them with surgical precision.

Before we attempted the descent down the moraine (something I was dreading) Jono wanted to show me an ice cave. About half his height, the cave was illuminated with aquamarine light from a shaft about three metres in.

I had assumed we were there just to admire it. But no, apparently I was going to have to climb through it.

The cave was fluted like a shell, the blue ice smooth and slippery as glass, and as cold as ... well, ice.

Even my crampons struggled to find a grip. I was on a narrow ledge, beyond which there was a dark void and the sound of churning water. I didn't think the gap between the ledge and the far wall was wide enough for me to shoot through into the underground stream, but I did suspect that becoming wedged there might not be the kind of post-operative physio my surgeon had in mind.

There is no going back, however – for one thing, Jono was in the way (a great way to stop a mum planning a rapid retreat) and anyway, I was not sure I could turn around safely.

Jono was the epitome of calm as he pointed out my next hand and footholds. No doubt the ignominy that would be attached to having to get help to rescue a wedged mother would have meant I would have got out even if he had had to hack the entire roof off the cave.What was more, I was not going to be that mother. I emerged up a vertical shaft, relieved but elated and with the precious newly rebored leg still facing the right way. Jono disappeared back into the cave to find the sunglasses he lost while extracting his mother. They had been swept away.

Slightly euphoric, I found even the climb down the terminal face did not seem that bad and there was the distraction of the view down the Waiho Valley, and in the distance, the sunlight glinting on Lake Mapourika.

While I was taking off my crampons, I decided this had been one of my most memorable travel experiences, and there have been some strong contenders over the years.

Few places in the world offer such an accessible glacier experience and yet so few Kiwis give it a go. Do it while you can, and if you find a pair of sunglasses, please let me know.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/features/3044287/Travel-A-world-of-ice (http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/features/3044287/Travel-A-world-of-ice)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on May 10, 2010, 12:48:51 am

Arrest following West Coast vehicle shooting

NZPA | 10:37AM - Sunday, 09 May 2010

A man has been arrested after a shooting on the West Coast early today.

Police said that a single shot was fired from a vehicle at a following vehicle in Westport around 12.30am.

The shot appeared to hit the front of the following vehicle, Constable John Woodward said.

"Fortunately the driver and his two passengers were not harmed in anyway but were understandably very shaken," he said.

The armed offenders squad was called out and a man was subsequently located in a different vehicle in Westport. He and the other four occupants of the vehicle were arrested.

A search warrant was later conducted at the man's home and a number of firearms were found.

Inquiries were continuing to establish exactly which firearm was used in the shooting.

Mr Woodward said a 19-year-old Westport man would appear in Greymouth District Court tomorrow.

The other men in the vehicle had been released but would likely face charges when investigations were completed.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/3673882/Arrest-following-West-Coast-vehicle-shooting (http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/3673882/Arrest-following-West-Coast-vehicle-shooting)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on May 17, 2010, 06:14:32 pm

West Coast: How Denniston rose again

Destination New Zealand (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/new-zealand-travel/news/headlines.cfm?c_id=1500882)

By JIM EAGLES (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/jim-eagles/news/headlines.cfm?a_id=25) - The New Zealand Herald (http://www.nzherald.co.nz) | 4:00AM - Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The top of the Denniston Incline which has been partially restored to the way it looked
50 years ago. — Photo: Jim Eagles.

The restoration of the Denniston Incline should be good for the West Coast's economy.
 — Photo: Jim Eagles.

When I arrived at the top of the Denniston Incline it was a clear day so my eyes were able to swoop down the impossible drop of the old cable railway — described in its heyday as the eighth wonder of the world — that once carried 12 million tonnes of coal down the mountainside to the ships and towns of the West Coast.

It was very different to the last time I was up here when the swirling mists obscured that spectacular view, and the small flat area at the top of the incline seemed populated with the ghosts of the hardy people who once dug coal out of the belly of the Southern Alps.

Back then, with dark shapes occasionally looming through the clouds, it was possible to imagine that the houses and hotels, schools and swimming pools built to support a population of 1500 were still here.

But in the clear light I could see that all those accoutrements of civilisation had gone: the houses cut in three so they could be trucked down the narrow winding road and re-assembled in Westport; the bricks chipped apart and carried off in triumph to make fireplaces elsewhere; even the railway lines taken to make tracks to newer mines.

Of the bustling community which once thrived in these bleak surroundings little now remains, apart from a scattering of abandoned fireplaces, some rusting tangles of iron cable and the memories which inspired Jenny Patrick's best-selling book The Denniston Rose.

Except...except that my reason for revisiting Denniston was that some of that mining history, which began in the 1870s and lasted until 1960, is being brought back to life.

There are hopes that a couple of developments - costing around $5 million in total — might see Denniston's remarkable story doing for the West Coast economy tomorrow what its mines did yesterday.

The start point for that strategy is down at Westport's Coaltown Museum, which I visited earlier in the day, with its marvellous recreation of the coast's turbulent history, its gold, timber, shipping and brewing industries, and especially its coalmining.

Shortly the museum is to close and move to a new site, in an old warehouse in the middle of town, where over two to three months it will be redeveloped as — in the words of manager Chris Hartigan — "the start point for a Denniston Rose pilgrimage."

As well as its displays of miners' picks and shovels, candleholders and crib boxes, lanterns and helmets, and the amazing coal ship's engine which starts up if you pop 50c in the slot, the new museum will have some special features aimed at giving visitors a real taste of mining.

For instance, said Hartigan, the replica coal mine visitors can walk through, one of the highlights of the present Coaltown, would be "made longer and narrower, more like a real mine, to create the feeling of how cramped it was."

The museum's replica of the Denniston Incline, which shows one of the Q wagons running downhill on a track at 45 degrees, would be doubled in size to show just how impressive the cable railway was.

"And," Hartigan added excitedly, "if we can get a bit of extra funding we're also going to have a virtual ride down the incline — based on a film a National Film Unit cameraman made in 1967 recording his own ride — with tilting seats and sound effects so people will get the full experience of what it must have been like."

But that is only the start of the plan to turn Denniston into a major tourist attraction.

Peter Robertson, chairman of the Denniston Heritage Trust, explained that visitors who wanted to get even more of a mining experience would be able to sign on as miners, at which point they'd be given a union ticket telling them what their job is, kitted out in overalls and helmet lamps, handed a crib lunch and taken by bus up the steep road to Denniston itself.

"On the way they'll be told what their duties are. If they're been designated as miners it could be loading coal with a banjo shovel. If they're clippies they'll have to clip the chains on to the wagons. If they're spraggers it'll be their job to hold the wheels with a wooden sprag.

"Or they could be union bosses or mine managers or winch operators or wagoners."

Department of Conservation officers working on the restoration plan stand at the top of the Denniston Incline.
 — Photo: Jim Eagles.

Up on the hill visitors will find — as I discovered when I arrived — that the brakehead at the top of the incline has been restored, with several newly laid tracks leading to where the incline plunges 518 metres down the hill to Conn's Creek, where it links up with a normal railway.

One of the huge old wagons, which used to run down the incline, now stands at the head with a couple more wagons lined up behind it, as though ready for the trip.

Sadly, there are as yet no plans to re-open the incline itself — though Prime Minister John Key, when he visited the project, was apparently so enthusiastic he suggested the money should be found to do it — but you can walk a short way down the track to a spot from which the precipitous route is visible.

And shortly a new platform will be built giving a spectacular view of the incline and the coastal plain below.

What is now being restored is 500 metres of the old railway that once ran into the nearby Banbury Mine — the oldest on the hill, first worked in the 1870s — which will take the visitors arriving from their Coaltown Museum briefing right into the mine to experience life at the coalface.

Work on the railway was under way when I turned up, with sections of rail being bolted on to sleepers, then pushed down the track already laid, taking the line steadily closer to the mine entrance.

A bonus from this project is the number of artefacts uncovered in the course of clearing a century of accumulated silt and rubble from the route.

As we walked along, Department of Conservation historic assets ranger Jonathan Thomas was constantly stopping to point out 100-year-old glass bottles and china plates, rusting chains once used to haul the wagons and even some of the original rails still in position.

"We've taken the best stuff away for protection," he said, "but there's certainly plenty of material for a fascinating display.

"Look" — he pointed excitedly — "there's even an old wagon here which can easily be restored."

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/Travel%20Articles%20Pix/NZHerald_Denniston04_12May10.jpg) (http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/Travel%20Articles%20Pix/NZHerald_Denniston05_12May10.jpg) (http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/Travel%20Articles%20Pix/NZHerald_Denniston06_12May10.jpg)
LEFT: Remains of one of the many railway tracks at Denniston once used to carry coal. | CENTRE: Rebuilding a railway line to the Banbury
Mine at Denniston. | RIGHT: Retired engineer Jack Powick, who is restoring an old loco from Denniston, with replacement springs.
 — Photos: Jim Eagles.

Meanwhile, down in Westport, retired engineer Jack Powick is restoring a little electric locomotive which once hauled the coal trains at Denniston but then spent 40 years rusting in the wild mountain weather, preparing it to pull the passenger carriages down the relaid track into the mine.

"I've had to machine all the parts — you can't buy them — except for some springs that amazingly were still available," he said when I paid a visit.

"Luckily I'm able to use an electric motor from a forklift to provide the power. It's just the right size and it can run off a battery. It'll do the trick."

Work will also start soon on restoring the Banbury Mine but when I visit it is still blocked off by a wire barrier a few metres inside the surprisingly small entrance.

The restoration, Thomas said, would include reinforcing the mine roof — "although the fact that it's sat here without maintenance for 100 years and survived some major earthquakes suggests it's pretty stable" — as well as running the railway line 170m inside the mine and creating an underground area where tourists in their overalls and hard hats will get a real feel for what it is actually like inside a coal mine.

The coal face would be kept realistically small, maybe 3 metres wide and just 1.7 to 1.8 metres high, to convey the cramped conditions in which miners had to work, recordings would be used to convey the sounds of an active mine — the creaking of props, the tapping of picks and the noise of a distant blast — and, Thomas added, "we're hoping to use a holograph of an old miner to tell the story of the mine and talk about what a miner's life was like."

Those on this mine experience tour will also have the chance to perform their assigned jobs and to see for themselves the pick marks, candle holders and carved names left behind by the real miners all those years before.

Standing a couple of metres inside the entrance of the Banbury Mine I poked idly at a vein of coal still running through the rock and tried to imagine what it would be like trying to stand in a dark space only 1.8 metres high and use one of those banjo shovels, with their huge blades, to load coal into a wagon.

"I think," I said to Thomas, "if I come back after the opening and do the tour I'll sign up to be the union boss. Or the mine manager."

Laying another section of track for the rebuilding of the railway line to the Banbury Mine at Denniston. — Photo: Jim Eagles.

DoC rangers check the plans at the entrance to the Banbury Mine at Denniston. — Photo: Jim Eagles.

One of the many old mining tunnels at Denniston which now form part of a walkway system. — Photo: Jim Eagles.


The coal mine experience being created at Denniston is a unique development for New Zealand tourism and conservation.

The project is being carried out by the Denniston Heritage Trust, a multi-agency body including the Department of Conservation (which is taking the lead role), Solid Energy, Development West Coast, Friends of the Hill and Buller District Council.

The aim, according to a background document, is to provide for both heritage preservation and appreciation. Or, as DoC heritage ranger Jonathan Thomas put it, to protect the history of Denniston, allow visitors to enjoy it to the maximum and make the exercise self-funding.

DoC has asked for expressions of interest from private operators to run the tourist experience when it is completed.

It will, as the background document says, be "a turnkey operation where a potential tourist operator can step in and start business straight away ... This project is an excellent example of how heritage preservation can also benefit a community socially and economically with Denniston set to become one of New Zealand's leading tourist attractions."

It's certainly a project which has enthusiastic support from the community. Thomas tells of going into a hardware store, inquiring about a saw blade hard enough to cut old railway sleepers and being told it would cost $600.

"The guy asked me what it was for and when I told him he said, ‘Oh, it's for Denniston. Just take it. Glad to help. I had family up there’."

"We get that all the time. Big outfits like OnTrack and little local businesses are all happy to support the project. It's got amazing goodwill. The local community really wants this to happen."

The new Denniston experience is due to open on December 14.



Getting there: Air New Zealand (http://www.airnewzealand.co.nz) has several flights a day to Westport out of Wellington and Christchurch. Avis Westport (http://www.avis.co.nz/westport-car-rental) provides rental cars from the airport.

Where to stay: Steeples (http://www.steeplescottage.co.nz), on Lighthouse Road at Cape Foulwind, offers a cottage, studio or a room in the main house with an ensuite.

Where to eat: The Bay House (http://www.thebayhouse.co.nz) is an excellent restaurant with fantastic views of Tauranga Bay and Cape Foulwind.

What to do: You can find out about the Coaltown Museum here (http://www.nzmuseums.co.nz/account/3238).

The Friends of the Hill Society, at Denniston, has a website at Denniston.co.nz (http://www.denniston.co.nz).

The Department of Conservation (http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/historic/by-region/west-coast/buller/denniston) has lots of information.

Further information: For more about visiting the West Coast see West-Coast.co.nz (http://www.west-coast.co.nz/).

Jim Eagles visited Westport as guest of Tourism West Coast.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/new-zealand-travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=1500882&objectid=10644196&pnum=0 (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/new-zealand-travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=1500882&objectid=10644196&pnum=0)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on May 19, 2010, 02:26:32 am

From the Otago Daily Times (http://www.odt.co.nz) ...

$28m plan to replace Gates of Haast bridge

By MARJORIE COOK (http://www.odt.co.nz/history/109) - Haast News (http://www.odt.co.nz/local/haast) | Friday, 16 April 2010

An artist's impression of the new bridge and rerouted highway.  Image: NZTA.

The single-lane bridge on State Highway 6 at the Gates of Haast appears likely to be replaced with a sweeping two-lane bridge on a realigned approach, at an estimated cost of $28 million.

Before it goes ahead, the New Zealand Transport Agency needs to exclude about 1.2 hectares from the Mount Aspiring National Park, requiring a land swap with the Department of Conservation.

That requires the consent of the Otago Conservation Board, which will consider the land swap today at its meeting in Berwick.

If the board agrees, it will receive about 4920 square metres of redundant road reserve.

NZTA project manager Chris Collins said this week there had been no adverse submissions to the proposal, which was advertised in October 2008.

The NZTA had been working since then on land-swap and designation issues.

An NZTA study in 2006 came up with six options addressing road safety, travel efficiency and maintenance costs.

Threats to the bridge include landslip movement, floods, and heavy vehicles colliding with the bridge.

It was built in 1962 and is regarded as a vital commercial, social and tourist link between Westland and Otago.

A car crosses the Gates of Haast bridge.  Photo: Stephen Jaquiery.

Of the six options, the road realignment and new bridge was considered the most feasible to bypass the slip and erosion area.

Mr Collins said there would not be a viewing platform, but there would be a footpath along the upstream side of the new bridge.

The car park area uphill from the bridge would be formalised and the car park on the downhill side would be removed because of an active slip at that site.

Department of Conservation West Coast community relations officer Fiona Pollard said this week a clause would be inserted in the Reserves and Other Lands Disposal Bill if the board agreed to the proposal.

The land exchange would be part of a compensation package, and any land received by DoC would be added to the national park, she said.

Mr Collins said the agency's three-year national transport plan provided for a design phase in 2011-12 but it could take a long time to complete the design and land-swap phases. A construction date has not been set and the $28 million budget was not fully realised.

The Gates of Haast bridge is about 60 kilometres east of Haast and 86 kilometres west of Wanaka.

It is on a popular tourist route and motorists often stop at the bridge to take photographs.

A recent crash history was not available, but the NZTA considers the potential for accidents is high.

http://www.odt.co.nz/your-town/haast/101950/28m-plan-replace-gates-haast-bridge (http://www.odt.co.nz/your-town/haast/101950/28m-plan-replace-gates-haast-bridge)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: nitpicker1 on June 22, 2010, 08:04:18 pm

the year after we finished our whitebaiting days on the Coast, the council burnt many of the squatters whitebaiter camps, and spared one on the Haast River North bank, which was a delightful possie where the cribs were named using the word "quitcha" ( Quitchabitchinn, Quitchaboozinn. etc.) I didn't know this one on the Waita, but pleased they were able to save theirs

Bach owners win fight with DOC
The Press
Last updated 05:00 21/06/2010

A long battle by West Coast bach owners to keep their huts from destruction is over, but at a price.

Members of the remote Waita community at the mouth of the Waita River, near Haast, have been fighting for years to retain their 16 baches on Department of Conservation (DOC) land.

They are among the 81 owners of baches on DOC land who the department now expects to open their huts to the public.

Seven permanent residents live at the mouth of the Waita River and the huts were built long before DOC came into existence in 1987.

Some date back to the early 1900s when the area was a stopping point for cattle drovers. Further baches were added when the area became a roadworks camp in the 1960s.

In 2005, DOC released a draft Conservation Management Strategy (CMS) saying that it intended to phase out all baches on its land by 2025.

This was in line with a policy which said private accommodation on conservation land was not "generally appropriate" and unfair to the rest of the New Zealand public.

Carol and Charlie Boulton, who have owned their bach at the Waita River since 1993, decided to fight the decision.

The couple had already formed the Waita Hut Owners' Association to deal with lease issues.

"People were up in arms when we were suddenly told we had to be out by 2025," Charlie Boulton said. "We were told it was not fair that we had exclusive use of public land, but I think most people could see that was bulls..."

The Boultons argued that the Waita River was a historic and cultural area, and baches were of value to New Zealanders. There were plenty of areas for people to camp nearby and the land was of little conservation value, they said.

The Boultons, along with 30 other submitters, successfully argued for the retention of West Coast baches and the final version of the CMS in April confirmed the huts would stay.

But to "ensure the security" of the baches and to ensure fairness, the new CMS stated bach owners must make provision, where appropriate, for public use of the facility.

DOC West Coast concessions manager Kelly Stevens said bach owners should look at the move "positively".

Permanent bach residents would not be expected to open their huts to the public and DOC would look at each owner on a "case by case" basis.

When the bach owners' current licence to occupy expired, DOC would discuss options on how to allow access to the public, if necessary.

"If there are other public facilities available nearby, bach owners won't be expected to open theirs," she said.

Access could be as easy as leaving a key at a DOC office.

The policy would be introduced with consultation over the next 12 to 18 months.

Waita River resident John Kerr is one of the five generations to live and whitebait at the tributary. As a permanent resident, Kerr said DOC could never have removed him from his bach anyway.

"They could bulldoze it from around me and I still wouldn't go," he said.

"There is no way I would live in town and have to put up with neighbours."

For the high rates he paid to live in isolation, he thought DOC should probably leave him in peace.


I wonder if "open to the public" means tourists could use their longdrops?

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Magoo on June 22, 2010, 08:54:54 pm
They are among the 81 owners of baches on DOC land who the department now expects to open their huts to the public.
Or does it mean the public may have use of the huts and the longdrops? 
Either way I wouldn't be overjoyed at the prospect.

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: ssweetpea on June 22, 2010, 11:59:07 pm
That sounds amazingly similar to what DOC has been trying to the Rangitoto Island Bach Communities.

The Girl's Brigade nearly lost their bach a couple of years ago because DOC insisted that it be administered by them and let out to the public. DOC only had a leg to stand on because this bach changed ownership using a loophole in the 1950s, which is how the Girl's Brigade got it.

DOC's idea of being let out to the public was letting it out to a kayak hiring company and allowing the Girl's Brigade to use it 6 weeks a year.

The matter went to court and the Girl's Brigade won mainly because it was being let out to the public when a brigade company hadn't booked it.

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Magoo on June 23, 2010, 09:38:47 am
Does  Girls Brigade own the bach SP?  ( wonder what became of my wee round hat with the red tassell on it?)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: ssweetpea on June 23, 2010, 02:15:15 pm
Does  Girls Brigade own the bach SP?  ( wonder what became of my wee round hat with the red tassell on it?)

My understanding is they do own the building as a leasehold which expires on the "death" of the owner. I am not quite sure about the full legalities as I am not sure how the orginal owners managed to transfer it to the Girls Brigade in the early 1950s.

I am not a leader or a former member of the Girls Brigade. My girls are and I have been on many camps as a parent help. Ok, I will freely admit that I love it over there, more so than my girls. I have been told that I would be able to book the bach in my own right at the "public" rate which is dearer than the company pays.

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: nitpicker1 on June 23, 2010, 03:25:52 pm
When we moved here there were several "squatters" cribs/batches on the beach side of the main road where road realignments had left room for building.  Most of their owners were disposessed and ordered to remove them, but some were given temporary lifetime title. Freedom campers illegally use the empty sites now.    ;D  I must find out whether the owners of those still there must allow public use of their premises.  

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on October 24, 2010, 04:29:13 pm

From the Otago Daily Times (http://www.odt.co.nz)....

Going West

The opening of the road lining Central Otago and Haast
in November 1960 was a defining moment for Westland.
But there are so many stories, it's hard to know where
to begin. Marjorie Cook starts with Dinny Nolan.

By MARJORIE COOK - Lifestyle (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle), Magazine (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine) | Saturday, 23 October 2010

A D9 earthmover makes its way around Clarke Bluff in the 1950s. — Photo supplied by Tas Smith.

THE ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the Haast Pass road between Central Otago and Westland took place outside Harold and Myrtle Pratt's garage, at the junction of the Jackson Bay and Haast roads, on a sunny day on November 06, 1960.

After more than 30 years of labour, the opening could truly be said to be one of Haast's finest hours.

Five years later, when the link between Haast and Fox Glacier opened, the rain hosed down and a slip closed the road immediately.

But, that's another story.

This story is about Dennis Nolan, who would have loved to see his sister, Nola Cron, share the ribbon-cutting ceremony with then minister of works Hugh Watt.

William Dennis Nolan (Din or Dinny) had died two years before, aged 82. But from the early 1900s to the end of his days, he'd bombarded New Zealand politicians and the Otago Expansion League with letters pleading to start and, later, to finish the Haast road.

We'll probably never know exactly how many letters and telegrams he sent because most of his meticulously carbon-copied correspondence, which he hung on No8 wire hooks in wardrobes and sheds, was burned after his death.

His granddaughter Neroli Nolan, now chairwoman of the Haast road celebration committee, rescued the last hook from a shed many years ago and was astounded to unearth a mine of information.

"He tried every angle to get the road done ... Apparently, he even used to send whitebait to Parliament," Ms Nolan said.

The remains of Dinny's papers include letters from friends and visitors supporting his campaign, as well as responses from officials.

Importantly, they include five pages of a copy of a South Westland history Dinny Nolan sent to a Mr E. Wilson of 299 York Place, Dunedin, dated April 27, 1945.

Neroli is now scanning all the documents, as well as some of Dinny's letters and poetry she has found. Once the collection has been digitised, she will donate the originals to the Hokitika Museum.

Dinny Nolan was born at the Arawata Settlement, near Jackson Bay, in 1877, the fifth of Andrew and Mary Nolan's 10 children. Andrew and Mary (nee Spillane) were among the original settlers in Jackson Bay, arriving on April 12, 1875.

By 1882, the Nolans couldn't live in the bay any more. It was not the land of milk and honey and the beaches were not covered in gold. They moved north to Okuru, where at least they could grow potatoes and catch eels.

The short trip up the coast was not without mishap. The open boat tipped and all the children went into the sea. Dinny later said it was the scariest moment of his life.

Like many Westland children of his generation, Dinny did not have much formal education and taught himself to read, write, type and write poetry.

He was said always to have a dictionary on his knee and some of his many poems were later published by one of his sons, Bill Nolan, in The Droving Days.

Most of the Nolan family had left the inhospitable district behind by 1914, but Dinny was a stayer.

In 1913, he married Mary Ritchie, from Jacobs River, and they had five sons, Bill, Robbie, Eddie, Des and Kevin.

Although Dinny rarely strayed from the West Coast, he was keen for his sons to broaden their horizons, so he sent them to St Kevin's College, Oamaru.

He was a man for hard work. When the boys were at home, they worked all day and spent evenings chopping wood.

He was highly principled and dead against drink.

The story goes that he would arrive at Jackson Bay to supervise a ship unloading and locals would go to great lengths to bribe ship captains to hide the kegs until he had gone home.

He was also an entrepreneur and had great dreams of getting Haast's industry going. He built a sawmill, started a cheese factory to export to the United Kingdom and set up a whitebait cannery.

His business endeavours were initially successful but did not last long because of unreliable and infrequent sea services. Air services commenced in the mid-'30s but these, too, were weather-dependent.

All the time, Dinny was pushing for an access road and in 1930, he and John Cron and Norman Wallis went to Parliament to urge their case.

They extracted a promise from the Labour Party that if Labour got to power, the road would be built.

On July 23, 1936, the Otago Daily Times devoted most of a page to the visit to Haast by a large delegation of officials.

This physically taxing inspection of the route from Pembroke to Haast employed motorcars, horses, shanks' pony, aircraft and boats.

When Labour was elected, an elated Dinny cabled friends and contacts at Lake Hawea.

To the Ewings of Makarora, he telegrammed: "Keep the billy boiling we will see you by car in the near future".

To the Capells of Hawea Flat: "We will be motoring to your door in the near future".

In 1938-1939, work started at both the Haast and Makarora road ends.

However, progress stalled during World War 2 and it took years and screeds more ink and paper from Dinny before it was completed.

In 1945, he wrote to Mr Wilson of York Place, Dunedin " ... strong agitation is afoot by Local Bodies Associations and other organisations endeavouring to persuade the Government to complete this great national highway".

With prescient foresight, he wrote of the great fillip the road would be to South Island tourism and the alleviation of isolation.

He also wrote of the need to control deer numbers in the forest and how a road would introduce more hunters who could help "exterminate this pest, or at least compel them to retire to the extreme fastness of the extensive mountain ranges".

And he sorrowed that Westland was languishing in a semi-stagnant state "all for the want of seventy miles of main highway and including three bridges, awaiting for the turn of mind of some Government with a progressive and colonising policy".

Although he never saw the road open, he lived to see his ambition being realised.

The final "big push" by road crews came in the 1950s, when Dinny was an old but still energetic letter-writer.

His granddaughter Neroli was a small child at the road opening.

"I see these celebrations as a celebration of a whole lot of things. But it is really the celebration of the end of isolation."

"When that road opened, Dad [Robbie Nolan] would take five of us kids and usually a couple of others and we could go to Ettrick and pick strawberries and gorge ourselves on strawberries too. Then we would go for a swim at the Roxburgh baths and have fish and chips at Cromwell and come home again ..."

"How's that for a day's outing? We used to take three sick buckets with us cos we all got sick. It was just a nightmare, that road. It was dusty and bumpy and hot and everyone would shout ‘put the windows up’."

"The reason we went away and back in one day is it wasn't so much of a rigmarole. We could bring back more stuff and wouldn't have to turn the generator off [at home] for several days. And we would often forget things and have to return home five times before we got going," she said.

One of Dinny's poems was a tribute to Bill O'Leary, or Arawata Bill.

I often think and ponder, you'll pardon me I ken,
But will our rising generation produce such grand old men?

These are words his family think easily apply to himself.

http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/132990/going-west?page=0%2C0 (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/132990/going-west?page=0%2C0)
http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/132990/going-west?page=0%2C1 (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/132990/going-west?page=0%2C1)
http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/132990/going-west?page=0%2C2 (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/132990/going-west?page=0%2C2)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on October 24, 2010, 04:29:31 pm

From the Otago Daily Times (http://www.odt.co.nz)....

The Haast travellers' tales

It is just 148km of road — but everyone who has
travelled between Wanaka and Haast has a story.

By MARJORIE COOK - Lifestyle (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle), Magazine (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine) | Saturday, 23 October 2010

Bob Yates pilots a piece of the heavy machinery that built the Haast Road. — Photo supplied by Tas Smith.

IT IS just 148km of road — but everyone who has travelled between Wanaka and Haast has a story.

Greymouth man Les McKenzie's phone began ringing off the hook as soon as word got around that the 50th anniversary of the road's opening was to be celebrated on November 06 this year.

Since then, Mr McKenzie has been helping collate a virtual landslide of memories, photographs, stories and anecdotes from former road workers and West Coast residents about what is now an important part of New Zealand's most famous scenic route, State Highway 6.

"I think we are going to end up with a surplus, the way we are going," Les McKenzie said in an interview with the Otago Daily Times.

"I've been getting phone calls every day. There's a lot of stuff."

Mr McKenzie (74) recently retired from his job as inspector of works at Opus but still works part-time for the privately-owned roading and infrastructure company, which in former times was the state-owned Ministry of Works.

Mr McKenzie has had a long career in road-building and has had a lot to do with the sealing and resealing of the Haast Pass road, as well as maintenance and construction of other West Coast roads.

From 1953 until 1965, Mr McKenzie worked for the Paringa-based Ministry of Works road survey crew responsible for building the coastal route to Haast from Fox Glacier.

After the Haast road opened in 1960, he transferred to Harihari and later to Greymouth.

One of his key tasks for November's reunion has been documenting nearly every culvert, layby, tourist stop and historic site along the route from Haast village to the pass.

It's been a big job and the keenly awaited results of his labours will be displayed at the celebrations.

One of his key helpers with this task has been Haast farmer John Cowan (63), who recalls a happy childhood at Haast making his own fun and improvising games to suit the available resources.

"There used to be a picnic every year and we raced with a spoon and potato. But we had bacon and egg pie. And we had sack races," Mr Cowan said.

Children rarely ventured out of the district, except to go to school by aeroplane or horseback.

Mr Cowan's father, the late Bernard Cowan, was one of several cartage contractors who worked along the isolated Jackson Bay road.

He owned six trucks, which had been brought down by ship, and Mr Cowan joined the family business in 1964, aged 17.

Other earlier truck owners included Harry Fountain, Ted Buchanan, Athol McGeady and Bill Robertson.

Mr Robertson held transport licences in the 1940s.

"There were no cars. No-one had a car so he [Bill Robertson] would take people around in trucks. Uncle Bill sold to Harry Smith and then Dad, who was farming at Okuru since he was 14, took over," Mr Cowan recalled.

As a cartage contractor, Bernard Cowan worked closely with the road crews building the roads, and he had many stories to tell about the characters he encountered.

Mr Cowan recalled stories about road worker Bill Blair, of Reefton, a person determined not to let the lack of a road turn him from his purpose.

"He drove a D8 [bulldozer] from Paringa up to the [Haast] pass because he had to get it there. At Coal Creek, there is still a gap in the trees where he came down."

"And he didn't come down the cattle track. The only reason why he did that was because the boat couldn't get the D8 down. It is in a book written about this. The dozer would have been shagged by the time it got there," Mr Cowan said.

At Glitter Burn Creek, near Thomas Bluff, road-workers could not clear the road quickly enough and locals pitched in to keep them on track.

"Dad said, be under no illusion there was any free lunch ... It was just tough. All the gravel was spread by hand, right up to the latter stages."

"And they only had three yards [of gravel] on trucks. That's 2.5m at the most. They were only single-axle trucks ... And they had a loader and a digger, an RB10. It took nine buckets to put 2.5m on a truck."

Before the road opened, Bernard Cowan would drive out to Cromwell, often taking other people with him, he recalled.

By this time, the Haast river at the Gates of Haast had a Bailey bridge — it had been shipped into Jackson Bay and transported up to the gorge.

However, the river remained unbridged lower down at Pleasant Flat, so vehicles would have to be winched or towed through the fast-flowing river at this point.

The Pleasant Flat bridge was the last piece to be finished and Bernard Cowan took great pleasure in driving over it the day before the bridge was officially opened by Ivy Farmery (nee Cron).

"The river was in flood and the truck was filled with supplies for the celebrations. Dad said, ‘I shall spit in this river. This will be the last time I ever drive through you’," Mr Cowan recalled.

Betty Eggeling also drove the road before it was opened.

Mrs Eggeling (89) denies stories she crawled over the unfinished Pleasant Flat bridge on her hands and knees.

But she admits the fear she felt walking across the unplanked structure.

"I got halfway across there and I froze. They had to come and rescue me. But my sister, she just walked it no problem, high across the water. I didn't really get down on my hands and knees," she said.

Mrs Eggeling and her husband, Charlie, frequently travelled the route, but there was only one time they rode the complete route from Haast to Makarora on horses, she said.

"We were going for a holiday to Dunedin. We left our horses at Makarora. That would have been — oh, I would have had two kids by then, maybe the late 1940s. I can't remember the date exactly," Mrs Eggeling said.

She only once drove the family Land Rover through the Haast River, which she did just before the confluence with the Landsborough River rather than at Pleasant Flat.

"I had got over all right. You could see the Land Rover tipping and bobbing. I was on my own, too, that time," she recalled.

Mrs Eggeling also owned an Austin A40, but kept it garaged at Hokitika to use if she flew up the coast with Air Travel (NZ) Ltd between Haast and Hokitika.

This enterprising airline was founded by former Dunedin pilot Bert Mercer and first flew into Haast on December 18, 1934.

It was New Zealand's first licensed and scheduled passenger service and Captain Mercer also brought in airmail, was the air ambulance, did alpine flight tours and carried freight.

The company was later sold to National Airways Corporation (NAC) and then West Coast Airways.

Mrs Eggeling said the road opening was a "great thing" and motor trips became more frequent.

"When Charlie and I were making the camping ground [in 1954], I used to drive the trucks out and pick up the supplies we needed, the timbers and the windows."

"Charlie and I would go out together and load up and come back," she recalled.

Culverts for many of the creeks were not built for many years and it took at least three hours to drive the Land Rover over the shingle road to Makarora.

Now the road is fully sealed and bridged and the trip to Makarora takes 90 minutes.

Mrs Eggeling last drove her Nissan out 12 months ago but now relies on family and friends for long trips.


50th anniversary Haast Road events


• 7pm Haast Hall.
• Registrations — get-together.
• Welcome Kerry Eggeling.
• Reminiscences.
• Book launch (Dave Grantham's book on Brian McCarthy).
• Video viewing and photo displays.
• A supper will be served. Drinks (wine and beer) will be available for sale.


• 11am Jackson Bay road.
• Welcome John Cowan.
• Westland District Mayor Maureen Pugh to give speech.
• Re-enactment of cutting of ribbon by Betty Eggeling and Sonny Yates.
• Lunch and markets at airstrip.
• Viewing cars.
• Dinner 6pm at marquee at Haast Airstrip. Cash bar (beer and wine).


• Church service, Okuru, 9.30am.
• 11am Plaque unveiling at Arawhata Bridge for Dan Greaney (1900-1972).

Dan Greaney was the Jackson Bay roadman for many years and sole Jackson Bay resident for seven years. He was known for his concern for the environment. Dan is still fondly remembered in the Haast by some of the old roadmen returning for the celebrations. A memorial plaque for Dan Greaney will be unveiled at the Arawhata bridge. Refreshments to follow at Haast Hall.

http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/133005/haast-travellers-tales?page=0%2C0 (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/133005/haast-travellers-tales?page=0%2C0)
http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/133005/haast-travellers-tales?page=0%2C1 (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/133005/haast-travellers-tales?page=0%2C1)
http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/133005/haast-travellers-tales?page=0%2C2 (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/133005/haast-travellers-tales?page=0%2C2)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on October 24, 2010, 04:29:45 pm

From the Otago Daily Times (http://www.odt.co.nz)....

New book on Haast due out

By MARJORIE COOK - Lifestyle (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle), Magazine (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine) | Saturday, 23 October 2010

Two of the men who built the road to Haast, Don Omelvena (left) and Euan ‘Bing’ Crosbie. — Photo supplied by Tas Smith.

THE 50TH anniversary of the opening of the Haast road will be celebrated on November 05 with the launch of a new book and a DVD of archived images from the 1950s.

When asked to name the one thing that impressed him most while writing a history of the Haast road, Waikanae writer Dave Grantham could not go past the word "isolation".

"The word that comes to mind is isolation, waiting for parts to come in. It wasn't quite so bad once they had aircraft, from 1934 when the plane service started. But, before that, people just died."

"Peritonitis was a big thing, apparently. People would be carted over the Paringa Cattle Track to hospital," he said in an interview.

Mr Grantham, an office manager for a television company, had previously written a family history and his first book came upon him at fairly short notice.

He had been taking the oral history of former road-worker Brian McCarthy (a man in his 80s), of Hokitika, for a couple of years when, in June, Mr McCarthy invited him to write a book.

Mr McCarthy used to work for Cummings, one of three main contractors who worked alongside the Ministry of Works teams.

Cummings blasted three bluffs — Big Bluff, Thomas Bluff and 16 Mile Bluff — while the Douglas and Clarke bluffs were blasted by Contract Cultivation, which also did the road from the pass down to Pleasant Flat.

A third contractor, Commonwealth Construction, blasted Halfway Bluff.

Mr Grantham said he limited his book to a general overview of the road-building period between Haast and Makarora in the 1950s, because not much had been written about that era.

He had been invited to include the section of road between Haast and Paringa, which opened in 1965 and completed the South Island tourist loop, but he felt that would lengthen his project.

Mr Grantham has obtained material from many other sources, including his father-in-law, Jack Chapman (83), who also worked for Cummings, and Tas Smith (71), who worked for his late father Jock Smith's company, Contract Cultivation.

While Mr Grantham has been working on his book, Mr Smith has been busy finalising the DVD of old photos and films.

Mr Smith sold Contract Cultivation to Whitestone several years ago and is now semi-retired on a farm block near Lake Waihola.

His parents, Jock and Clare, were originally from Timaru and founded the company in the 1920s.

Mr Smith joined in 1957 as an 18-year-old Timaru Boys High School leaver and worked on the Haast road.

"It was certainly the last of the pioneering work in the country. Probably the more interesting work that I've done. I've worked on several projects but that one stood out ... There were no cabs, no heaters; we worked seven days a week in rain, snow or hail. On a really bad day, you probably knocked off a bit early but most days it was 10 hours a day. There was little else to do," he recalls.

The men wore oilskins to protect them from the elements.

Once they had got around Clarke Bluff, they were allowed to go hunting, fishing and whitebaiting in their spare time.

Mr Smith took all the coloured slides while the late Ken Nichols, a former Contract Cultivation surveyor and assistant manager, made the films.

Mr Smith attended the opening celebration in 1960, as well as the Paringa opening in 1965, and a function at Makarora in the 1990s to mark the laying of the last piece of tarseal.

"I've been to all those, so I can't miss this one," he said.

  • A Road Through the Pass: Roadmaking Haast to Makarora, by David Grantham, is available from: Dave Grantham, 12 Nimmo Ave West, Waikanae 5036. Email: haastroad@gmail.com (haastroad@gmail.com)

http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/133007/new-book-haast-due-out?page=0%2C0 (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/133007/new-book-haast-due-out?page=0%2C0)
http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/133007/new-book-haast-due-out?page=0%2C1 (http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/133007/new-book-haast-due-out?page=0%2C1)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: nitpicker1 on October 25, 2010, 07:13:26 am

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on October 25, 2010, 01:30:28 pm

Betty Eggeling is a real hard-case.

I attended the 75th Airline Anniversary Celebrations at Haast last December.

Betty was like the “Queen of the event” and had everyone pissing themselves laughing with some of her hard-case stories.

The night of the dinner, she was dressed up in her finest evening gown, but with gumboots on her feet!  ;D

You gotta luurve the way they do things down there.....only at Haast, eh?  (http://www.smfboards.com/Smileys//smf/shocked.gif)  (http://www.smfboards.com/Smileys//smf/rolleyes.gif)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on May 24, 2011, 08:42:06 pm

A time of innocence as dark clouds loom

Wandering barefoot down Main Street in the small mining town
of Denniston, 10-year-old Hector Beech had no idea of the
tragedies that would shape his life in the coming years.

By JONATHAN MILN (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/jonathan-milne/news/headlines.cfm?a_id=704) - HERALD on SUNDAY (http://www.nzherald.co.nz) | 5:30AM - Sunday, May 22, 2011


IT WAS 1967 — the year they closed the famous Denniston Incline, the steep railway that had carried 12 million tons of coal down the mountainside to the ships and towns of the West Coast.

Aside from, perhaps, the school teacher, postmaster and publican, pretty much every man in town worked up at the mines, at the top of The Incline.

Schoolboys David Dick, left, and his friend, Hector Beech, would jump on top of the wagons full of coal and ride them down to the bottom — then climb into an empty wagon to ride back up again.

Hector's dad — he was a miner, of course — lost the tip of a finger when he was resting his arm on the cable, just as a wagon came along.

"I'd never work underground in a coal mine," says Hector, now 54. "It's too dangerous."

The year after The Incline closed, the Beech family — mum, dad and eight children — moved to Reefton.

They had barely hung the net curtains when the 7.1 magnitude Inangahua earthquake struck.

Hector Beech now lives in the earthquake-devastated Christchurch suburb of Avonside — but he still remembers that 1968 quake as his worst. "The roads were split open, everything came out of the cupboards, the hotwater cylinder blew up," he recalls. "It was worse than what this year's quake did to my house.

"There was a house up on the hill. A big boulder came rolling down and landed on the house. The woman there is buried under the boulder to this day. Apparently her husband crawled six miles (9.6km) with two broken legs to get help for her — but there was nothing they could do."

Hector speaks prosaically of the life of a West Coast mining family. He remembers when the neighbour's house burned down, claiming the life of one person inside and the little dog that tried to alert its owners.

One of his younger brothers, Anthony, died when he was just 24, asphyxiated in an accident.

And little Raymond — the blond curly-haired boy on the right of the photo — died just six years ago when his truck rolled on top of him on his farm. The Pike River coal mine tragedy claimed some of Hector's old friends and relatives.

By then, most of the surviving siblings were living in Christchurch, so often the way for Coasters.

But the other brother in the photo, Micky, moved back to a small block near Ross, farming a few sheep and cattle, catching whitebait in season and panning for gold.

Micky's not on the phone — but Hector visited him two months ago.

"It was the first time I'd been back to the Coast in 20-odd years."

Hector pauses. "It brings back a lot of memories."

Photo researcher: Emma Walter.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10727223 (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10727223)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on August 15, 2011, 11:02:43 pm

A funky time in Hokitika

By LIZ LIGHT - The Press | Monday, 15 August 2011

TOWN'S HEART: The Memorial Clock Tower at Hokitika

MIST hangs on the river and the sky is peachy.

The hills, all different shades of dawn, lie in layers in front of the snowy Southern Alps. Even the Westland Co-operative Dairy Company, the biggest thing in Hokitika, looks beautiful in a steaming, industrial-grandeur kind of way.

I'm the only one walking along Revell Street in the early morning and it's quiet but not totally. The low-toned mechanical drone of the dairy factory in the east and the rhythmical hum of waves pounding the beach to the west is punctuated by the occasional seagull's squawk.

Revell Street is still known as The Crooked Mile, a name acquired in the 1860s when it was the throbbing heart of this wild goldmining town. Then the population was more than 6000 (twice that of now) and Hokitika had 101 pubs, three breweries and an astonishing amount of ungodly behaviour.

The Crooked Mile was home to 86 of these pubs until it was smote, by a fire in 1869, that took out an entire block of buildings.

The Memorial Clock Tower, in Sewell Street, a frippery of columns, arches, artistically beaten steel and a bell tells me it's 6.15am. Bang on. It was erected to commemorate the reign of Edward VII and unveiled in 1902 by Richard John Seddon. Edward VII has long been forgotten but Seddon remains a big man in Hokitika.

Seddon was a miner, storekeeper, the mayor of nearby Kumara, a member of parliament and, from 1893 until his death in 1906, he was the Prime Minister. This larger than life man has a larger than life statue (he bears an uncanny likeness to grumpy Mel Gibson) that stands in front of Seddon House.

Seddon House, a grand Victorian pile of brick and stucco, the government buildings and courthouse from 1909, has 24 rooms and is for sale for $400,000. This seems extraordinarily cheap for something that could be turned into a private palace or an exquisite heritage hotel.

The south end of town is defined by the Hokitika River and when I reach the riverbank the sun has risen above the mountains and the mist gone. The peachy morning has turned blue and beached logs, the bridge on the main road and river-edge bushes reflect in still water in perfect double. It's serenely beautiful.

It never occurred to me that Hokitika would have so many superb, in an arty way, shops or that a town this small would have two cinemas. Hokitika Regent Theatre, a 75-year-old Art Deco building has been restored and though all the original deco features remain the cinematography is the latest; fully digital, top-end sound gear and it can show 3D films. Avatar opened here on the same night as in Auckland and Christchurch.

Crooked Mile Talking Movies, around the corner in an ex-bank, shows art-house movies and is licensed. It's smaller and more loungy-comfy-intimate.

The shops are grouped together along four roads that spoke out from the clock tower and The Crooked Mile. There are a cluster of greenstone shops for tourists, a glass blower, wood carvers, a carve-your-own bone and jade gallery, a jeweller who uses Coast gold and another who specialises in local rubies.

I fall for Sweet Alice's, an old-fashioned fudge and candy shop. It has 12 flavours of heavenly fudge, made the traditional way and cooled and rolled on a granite block, and boiled lollies made in small batches and shaped through a hand-turned drop roller. The kitchen takes up half the shop so customers watch the processes while Alice Phillips and her team create their confectionery.

After a marriage break-up in Britain, Alice returned to New Zealand with a small stash of cash and the dream of opening a fudge shop. She spent six months looking around the South Island, travelling in a campervan with her dog and, when she got to Hokitika, she found a sad empty shop, saw a lineup of tour buses across the road and knew this was the place.

"I love Hoki," Alice tells me, "the wild beach, gentle river, lakes and bush and mountains all around with snow in the winter. I like the way I can ride a horse through town, go on a three-hour hike and not meet another soul, and sit on the beach watching the waves without worrying about my dog annoying anyone."

And given that there are more men than women on the Coast Alice was soon dating Rob Stuart, Hoki-born and bred. "He worked a full day every week for me for months, to learn how to make fudge. OK, so he probably had an ulterior motive but, even so, I've never been out with a bloke who would work for me for free just to get to know me better." He's Alice's fiance now.

In IaNZart, Ian Phillips (no relation to Alice) is shaping sheet copper. Ian is a true craftsman, making sculpture by bending, beating and burning copper. He uses controlled heat patina that brings out rainbow colours in the metal by heating and cooling it to different temperatures. There are 15,000 pieces of his art at large in the world ranging in price from $5000 to $85, "something for everyone".

Ian spent his childhood holidays on this coast and always loved it. He moved here 10 years ago, bought the BNZ Bank, opened the gallery-workshop on the ground floor and lives upstairs in the bank manager's house and, he says, "though the bank was built in 1905 it feels as if it was specifically built for us". Ian, too, found love in Hokitika. He met his wife Janne not long after he moved here.

The most go-for-it-crazy of the shops in Hokitika is Sock World incorporating the Sock Knitting Machine Museum. Jacquie Grant had a dairy farm and spun wool on long winter evenings. Not being a hand-knitter she was delighted when someone gave her an old sock-knitting machine they found in a shed. She started making socks from her spinning and one thing led to another. Now Jacquie has over 200 vintage sock machines and she sells thousands of socks.

Juergen and Monica Schacke own Wilderness Gallery. Juergen, an art photographer, says Hokitika is his idea of paradise and, having travelled widely, he chose to live here. The Schackes are from Germany, and Juergen first came to New Zealand as a backpacker and immediately felt it was home. "It's true-blue yet totally contemporary," Juergen says. "I can sit in the pub with an old goldminer in the evening and be on the internet in the morning. And I love the weather. It's constantly changing; blue sky, stormy rain, broody skies, incredible sunsets and misty mornings."

In the evening I walk along the beach to Sunset Point where wild waves merge with the mellow river. I hope for a spectacular sunset, but sea breeze turns into bluster, clouds roll from the west and within half an hour the blue-sky is moody grey. This is the unpredictable weather that Juergen delights in.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/lifestyle/travel/5442630/A-funky-time-in-Hokitika (http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/lifestyle/travel/5442630/A-funky-time-in-Hokitika)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Yak on August 16, 2011, 02:00:39 pm
I drove over the Haast pass not long after it opened.  I recall a bridge constructed out of steel with a steel expanded mesh decking near where the road did a u-turn across the river.  You could look down and see white water raging below.  Years later I went back and was telling the missus about it, but it had gone in one of the ironing out of bends and re-bridging.(http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww32/XtraNewsCommunity2/MSN%20emoticons/10emsad.gif)

Travelled over it again a few years back and the zig-zag had all but vanished and the viaduct was taking its place.

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on October 26, 2011, 01:18:38 pm

Massive rockfall on glacier

By LAURA MILLS - Greymouth Star | Tuesday, 25 October 2011

DYNAMIC ENVIRONMENT: Rockfall above the Franz Josef Glacier.

A MASSIVE ROCKFALL above the Franz Josef Glacier, showering an ice-climbing party with dirt, has been caught on video.

Tonnes of rock exploded off the valley wall at Roberts Point, crashing down on to the ice on October 13. It was filmed by someone on a guided ice walk with Franz Josef Glacier Guides.

The video shows rocks flying towards the camera, and once the dust settles, the group is left coated in dirt and dust and one of the guides is shown holding a large rock that landed between them. The glacier itself — pristine and glistening aqua colour beforehand — is left grey and dirty.

A party further up the glacier valley at the time was subsequently flown out by helicopter, and the full-day tour was shut for two days.

Fraser Leddie from Ngai Tahu Tourism, which owns Franz Josef Glacier Guides, said today the rockfall was a one in 10-year event.

It happened well beyond the area roped off to tourists, which is meant to be accessed only by official tours, on the opposite, northern side of the glacier valley.

The 22-strong group had two guides, who had assessed the trip before taking clients out for the day.

“The noise was the first warning,” Mr Leddie said. The group was kept together, sheltering, as rocks exploded from the cliff face, down on to the glacier.

“There was no panic, but adrenalin.”

The guides placed the footage on their own website and also gave it to the Department of Conservation.

Mr Leddie said the glacier valley was a dynamic environment and they wanted to help people understand that by viewing the video.

“It’s a natural environment no one can control. Our guides are extremely experienced.”

A new route has now been cut up the valley, and the area will be surveyed.

DOC Franz Josef spokeswoman Cornelia Vervoorn said rockfalls like this probably occurred every day in the Southern Alps.

“What’s unusual about this one is that it was in a valley that is frequently visited, and it was witnessed by so many people.”

A ranger assessed the rockfall area from a helicopter to see if there was any threat to the public, or any likelihood of further rockfalls.

It had not been possible to assess the size of the rockfall with any accuracy, “but it was certainly a big one”.

A combination of factors, including the start of spring, probably caused it.

“The rock in this area is quite brittle, alternate bands of greywacke and argillite that are being uplifted by the movement of the Alpine Fault. The action of the glacier also erodes the valley walls. Finally, temperature variations at the end of winter and start of spring can cause expansion and contraction of the rock, further weakening the valley walls.”

Ms Vervoorn said it was a dramatic reminder of the importance of observing safety signs when visiting the glaciers.

DOC rangers checked the glacier valley for hazards every day and assessed the safety of walking tracks for visitors. Anyone wishing to venture beyond the barriers should always go with a guide.

In January 2008, two Melbourne brothers were killed by an ice collapse at the terminal of the nearby Fox Glacier.

http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/massive-rockfall-glacier (http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/massive-rockfall-glacier)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq8Hwsjf2XM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq8Hwsjf2XM)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 25, 2011, 09:27:38 pm

Council faces up to Franz quake risk

By CHERYL RILEY - The Greymouth Star | Thursday, 24 November 2011

AT RISK: The affected properties in Franz Josef Glacier township.

THIRTY-SIX Franz Josef Glacier properties, cited in an ‘earthquake fault avoidance zone’ are to be given step-by-step information as the Westland District Council grapples with the issue.

The zone runs across the Waiho River and through the middle of the township. It represents the area considered to be most at risk of massive ground rupture during an earthquake — 8-9m horizontally and 1-2m vertically.

Ground shaking, landslide and river blockage and breakout areas are outside of the zone, but affect virtually the entire village as well as the Wahio River running dangerously close, south-west of the township.

At a recent strategy committee meeting, a suggestion to look at developing the town south of the river was soon discounted after council planning and regulatory manager Richard Simpson pointed out that the Waiho riverbed covered the entire area south to Docherty’s Creek, at the bottom of the Fox Hills, and back north to the Tatare River.

He said the river was currently “behaving threateningly” to the west of Franz Josef, where it periodically linked up with the Tartare River. He described how the river could cut back into the township if the river linked more permanently with the Tatare.

Mayor Maureen Pugh pointed to the stopbanks below the State highway bridge as adding to the aggravation further downstream, and Mr Simpson agreed, saying long-term development should be steered well clear of the volatile Waiho River, which could go anywhere at times of environmental upheaval, such as earthquakes or flash flooding.

“There is really only one true option available to us, and that is to move north,” Franz Inc chairman Marcel Fekkes said.

According to the GNS there is a 20% likelihood of an earthquake along the fault within the next 30 years in which buildings inside the avoidance zone would ‘move’ and those outside would ‘shake’.

“It’s not an ‘if’ it’s a ‘when’,” Mr Simpson said.

“There are engineering solutions for river control but there are no engineering solutions for earthquakes.”

Mrs Pugh said the council was left with no choice other than to implement a plan change around the rupture zone, and the matter was urgent.

“We can’t bury our heads in the sand over it.”

The strategy committee will seek more information from the West Coast Regional Council on the predicted movement of the Waiho River.

“Where we go is dependent on the river,” the Mayor said.

A plan change was the first priority, planner Rebecca Strang said.

The committee agreed that a plan around the avoidance zone be drafted for consideration at the next committee meeting and people directly affected be kept informed by letter.

http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/council-faces-franz-quake-risk (http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/council-faces-franz-quake-risk)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 29, 2011, 12:21:25 pm

Haast seeks special whitebait status

By MIKE CREAN - The Press | 5:00AM - Tuesday, 29 November 2011

RECORD BID:South Westland pub manager Simon Jackson
in the giant whitebait frying pan. — MIKE CREAN/The Press.

RAIN beating on the roof sounds the death knell for a million whitebait.

It wakes me in my Haast pub bed. When the din subsides, I haul my clothes on, jump in the car and dash to the Okuru River for a glimpse of that rare species, the whitebaiter.

It is barely dawn but the silhouettes of whitebaiters on their stands, staring into the river for a sight of the tiny fish, stand out against a lightening sky. I stumble through dripping bush to talk to three old stagers from the river bank.

This has been the best West Coast season — it ended on November 14 — for years, they say. Rich reward for driving from South Canterbury and Southland and setting up camp at a local caravan park. Well worth rising before six to catch the tide.

So I step onto the long metal stand that protrudes 10 metres out over the river, and stare into the water. And here they come, a shoal of the beauties, flicking their slender bodies upstream, till they meet the net. There they stop and seem to hold a conference about what to do next. They turn and swim back a short distance. But primordial instinct sinks in and they turn upstream again, answering the call of the spawning grounds — straight into the net.

This shoal will go down as another catch. Another breakfast for the chaps hauling in the net.

Later, the contented whitebaiters will gather with their mates to spin fishy yarns at the "long table" in the bar of the Haast pub.

What they call the Haast pub is the Heartland World Heritage Hotel, so named to celebrate the World Heritage status of the South Westland-Fiordland region.

The "long table" comprises four bar tables pushed together in the large public bar, where a log fire blazes and windows frame views of wetland plains, mountain and bush wilderness.

Hotel manager Simon Jackson says whitebaiters have insisted on this spot in the bar for many years. He has been here only a year, but his predecessor advised him the whitebaiters would demand it.

Jackson is happy with that. If the long table brings such a cheerful bunch of fellows in every evening of the two-month whitebaiting season, he will gladly provide it.

Hundreds of regulars descend every September on the rivers that spill into the sea by Haast. Many stay until the season closes in November. They come from all over the South Island. To them, whitebaiting is more than a hobby, more than a hunting-and-gathering exercise to feed hungry bellies, or a reunion with old mates. It is a traditional religious ritual.

Their reverent devotion to the great god Whitebait has given Jackson an idea. Let's launch Haast as the whitebait capital of the world, he says.

Haast needs something like this, he adds. Streams of traffic pass on the Haast Highway each day. Few people stop and most of those that do take a quick look around and move on. Jackson wants a way to hold people here, for a night, two nights, or more.

There are plenty of adventure activities, but Haast needs something different. Which is where whitebait swim into his ken. Haast has always been famous for whitebait. The Nolan family made an industry of it early last century, canning the delicacy and flying it out to the nation's markets.

A decade ago, Haast tried to get its name in the Guinness Book of Records for cooking the world's biggest whitebait pattie. Jackson guides me to an overgrown bank behind the hotel and there, in the sodden grass, lies a huge, round, steel dish. It is nearly five metres in diameter, with a five-centimetre rim around it. This is the frying pan that was used in the record attempt.

Members of the community brought whitebait for the pattie. Jackson says the amount used would have been worth $10,000 then. They propped the pan up and assembled gas burners under it. They lit the burners, heated the pan and poured the whitebait mix in.

Did it work? Sadly, no. The wind kept blowing the flames out. The pan could not be heated evenly, so the pattie did not cook properly. The attempt was abandoned. Jackson is not sure what became of the pattie — perhaps it was broken up and fed to the dogs.

The Haast community held a whitebait ball last month. Locals and visitors alike attended in their roughest whitebait clothes at the Okuru Hall. Jackson hopes the ball will become an annual event. It should be a regular part of the celebrations for the whitebait capital of the world, he says.

Mike Crean was a guest at Heartland World Heritage Hotel, Haast.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/lifestyle/travel/6051142/Haast-seeks-special-whitebait-status (http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/lifestyle/travel/6051142/Haast-seeks-special-whitebait-status)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on December 07, 2011, 12:38:40 am

Tourists move closer to Fox Glacier

The Greymouth Star | Thursday, 01 December 2011

VIEWPOINT: The terminal face of Fox Glacier.

TOURISTS visiting the Fox Glacier will now be able to get even closer to the ice, with a new terminal face viewpoint established by the Department of Conservation.

Tourists repeatedly ignore hazard signs in a bid to touch the ice, and two years ago two brothers were killed by a sudden icefall at the Fox Glacier terminal.

The new platform is situated 200m from the terminal face of the glacier. The viewpoint from last summer is now 500m from the face as a result of the glacier’s continued retreat.

DOC visitor historic assets manager Luke Achbold said they wanted to give visitors the best experience possible, but also keep them safe from hazards such as flash flooding, rock and ice fall.

“The valley is a very dynamic environment and we can never guarantee how close its safe to get on any given day, that’s why its so important that everyone visiting the glacier always heed the warning signs.”

The viewpoint was the result of an initiative by the department’s South Westland Weheka area office which co-ordinated a community work day on November 22. Three days later, it was completed, including a 300m extension to the existing access track.

It takes about 30 minutes to reach, and is now open to the public.

http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/tourists-move-closer-fox-glacier (http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/tourists-move-closer-fox-glacier)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: nitpicker1 on December 10, 2011, 07:15:27 am

Two tourists swept to death down Waiho River
Last updated 06:33 10/12/2011

Two female tourists have died after being swept down the Waiho River while on a walk near Franz Josef.

The bodies of a 20-year-old woman from China and a 23-year-old woman from Malaysia were recovered this morning from the river by a search team.

The two women were part of a four-strong group of tourists on a walk near Franz Josef Glacier on the West Coast.

They went off the walking track in the dark and tried to cross the river by foot but two were swept off their feet and washed down stream.

The two other walkers raised the alarm, prompting a search involving search and rescue volunteers, police and the rescue helicopter, which ultimately located the bodies.

Police say the matter will be referred to the coroner and that no further details will be released until family have been notified.



Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on December 10, 2011, 12:10:09 pm

There's a company which does guided white-water rafting down the Waiho River, beginning just downstream from the glacier terminal face.

Too bloody cold for me.....that river is basically just melted glacier ice!

Wet suit or no wet suit, I don't fancy getting into water that cold for an extended period of time.

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on January 11, 2012, 12:10:18 pm

Sunny spell forces Franz water restrictions

Tourists outraged as Franz Josef grinds to halt

By DEIDRE MUSSEN - The Press | 1:46PM - Tuesday, 10 January 2012


POPULAR tourist destination Franz Josef Glacier virtually ground to a halt yesterday after the South Westland township ran out of water.

Many restaurants and tourist attractions were forced to shut their doors, while most residents and tourists faced a hot night without showers, flushing toilets or tap water.

A long spell of sunny weather in the district, renowned for its high rainfall, forced the Westland District Council to put full water restrictions in place yesterday at Franz Josef Glacier and Ross.

Council assets and operations group manager Vivek Goel said today that the town's water tanks normally stored only a day's water and were supplied by gravity-fed pipes from a creek.

High demand and low flow levels from the creek caused the tank's level to plummet from 40 per cent capacity in the morning to 20 per cent by the afternoon, making water pressure too low for many properties to keep their supply.

Goel was notified about 5.30pm yesterday that some properties were without water.

A  contractor who manages the water supply for the council began pumping water from the creek directly into the town's reticulation system about 6pm yesterday.

He was unsure when water was returned to all properties, although some said today their water supply returned about midnight.

"It was a situation for a couple of hours," Goel said.

He blamed the dry weather, which also boosted demand, and said it was not the contractor's fault.

However, many in the township were today questioning who would cover the financial impact on businesses from losing their water supply.

A spokesman from one of the town's backpackers, who declined to be named, said some angry tourists had demanded refunds.

"They've come off a full day hiking on the glacier and come back wanting a hot shower but couldn't have one."

Someone stormed out of the backpackers after abusing staff, he said.

"Lots of people are questioning how this could have happened and who is going to cover the cost of it," he said.

The Franz Josef Four Square supermarket was doing a roaring trade in bottled water, owner Cushla Jones said.

It had ordered plenty more and was able to cope with the increased demand, she said.

That was set to continue, with the council asking consumers to start boiling water from today because the pumped water was bypassing its treatment plant, although it was having chlorine added.

"We will continue closely monitoring the situation," Goel said.

Hokitika was put on partial water restrictions today, with its reservoir down to half capacity, which meant people could  water gardens only on odd or even days, depending on whether their address was an odd or even number.

Full restrictions in Franz Josef Glacier and Ross meant water could be used only for residential use, with no watering of gardens or lawns, no washing of vehicles and no filling of swimming pools or paddling pools.

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research statistics show Franz Josef Glacier's airport had an estimated average annual precipitation (rainfall and snow) of four metres, compared with 0.6m in Christchurch, and Wellington and Auckland's 1.2m annual average.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/6235928/Sunny-spell-forces-Franz-water-restrictions (http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/6235928/Sunny-spell-forces-Franz-water-restrictions)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on January 11, 2012, 12:15:14 pm

Wet resort runs out of water

By DEIDRE MUSSEN - The Press | 5:00AM - Wednesday, 11 January 2012

FRANZ JOSEF is back in action after running out of water on Monday night.

Restaurants, bars and tourist attractions had to shut their doors, and residents and tourists had a hot night without showers, flushing toilets or tap water.

In a weather reversal, a long spell of sunny weather in the high-rainfall area forced the Westland District Council to put water restrictions in place on Monday morning at Franz Josef and Ross.

Franz Josef Glacier's airport has an estimated average annual precipitation (rainfall and snow) of 4 metre compared with 0.6m in Christchurch, and Wellington and Auckland's 1.2m annual average.

Council assets and operations group manager Vivek Goel said yesterday high demand and low creek flows caused water pressure in the town's tanks to drop too low for most properties to keep their supply.

Water was restored to all properties on Monday evening. Many in the township yesterday questioned who would cover the financial impact for business closures because of the lack of water.

The Landing Bar and Restaurant manager Mark Bentley had contacted his insurers, but it was unclear whether his significant loss of income was covered.

Tourists swamped the Franz Josef Four Square supermarket to buy food and bottled water.

That was set to continue, with the council asking Franz Josef to start boiling water from yesterday because the creekwater pumped into the town's water supply was bypassing its treatment plant.

Chlorine was being added, Goel said.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/6238001/Wet-resort-runs-out-of-water (http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/6238001/Wet-resort-runs-out-of-water)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on July 16, 2012, 09:51:24 pm

Franz in rapid retreat

By LAURA MILLS - The Greymouth Star | Monday, 09 July 2012

Franz Josef Glacier four years ago in 2008. — Photo: The Greymouth Star.

Franz Josef Glacier this month in 2012. — Photo: The Greymouth Star.

A SPECTACULAR ICE RETREAT at the Franz Josef Glacier has surprised even the experts.

The 500m retreat in just four years has been accompanied by ‘ice quakes’, and given rise to suggestions of pushing a road closer up the valley as the ice slowly disappears from view.

University of Victoria senior research fellow in glaciology, Dr Brian Anderson, said the current retreat was “really unusual and quite amazing”.

“While the glacier has always been dramatic in its advances and retreats, the rapidity of the present retreat is remarkable,” he said.

Between 1893 and the end of its last major retreat 90 years later, in 1983, Franz Josef Glacier receded a total of about 3km. Between 1983 and 2008 it advanced almost 1.5km after heavy snowfalls in the neve. But in the past four years alone it has melted almost 500m.

The current retreat began in 2008, and last year it thinned the thickness of the ice by about 70m behind the glacier terminal.

A colleague with a seismometer then detected ‘ice quakes’ — the ground shaking from an ice collapse — as a huge cavity formed beneath the glacier, eventually causing the glacier surface to sink into it.

By January this year a hole had formed in the glacier, putting an end to guided walks.

Tourists are now flown on to the ice by a short helicopter ride.

It is currently a 3km walk from the road end and car park to the terminal face.

Department of Conservation spokeswoman Denise Young said it was taking longer for visitors to reach the glacier, which resulted in a decline in the numbers taking guided tours so the department was currently considering building a formed road to allow some vehicles to drive from the car parks to the terminal faces of both the Franz Josef and its sister glacier, Fox.

A guided tour party at the Franz Josef Glacier in June 2010. — Photo: NZPA.

Last year about 330,000 people visited Franz Josef, and 184,000 went to Fox.

The Westland National Park plan and park bylaws may need to be changed to allow the road to be built. Changing the plan requires public notification and will take at least eight months.

DOC is also considering reviewing the current limit on the number of heli-hikes allowed on the glacier.

Dr Anderson said although it had been a very cold winter so far, the past few years had been warmer and the glacier had been losing a lot of ice.

It would take more than a year of good snowfalls to make up for the loss.

The ice had continued to collapse into the hole, which was getting “bigger and bigger” and would eventually form the new terminus, about 500m further back from the current debris-covered terminus.

“In general, we expect that the glaciers will get a lot smaller in the coming century, as the climate warms,” he said.

It was hard to say exactly how much the glacier had retreated in the past four years, as it was doing so unevenly.

The part furthest down the valley had receded by only about 50m since 2008 because it was protected by the insulating debris cover, but along the Waiho River it had retreated out of view by more like 400m in that time, he said.

http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/franz-rapid-retreat (http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/franz-rapid-retreat)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on July 16, 2012, 09:51:35 pm

National park request for hydro river

The Greymouth Star | Monday, 16 July 2012


ONLY two months after Meridian Energy pulled the plug on plans to dam the Mokihinui River, the West Coast Conservation Board has voted to add the river and catchment to Kahurangi National Park.

Conservation groups including Forest and Bird and the Department of Conservation opposed granting consents for the hydro dam.

The conservation board meeting in Hokitika recently agreed to ask the New Zealand Conservation Authority to act under section eight of the National Parks Act and request the director-general to “investigate and report” on a proposal to add the river and catchment to the surrounding national park.

Conservation board member Dr Mike Legge said it seemed like an excellent idea, especially as all the information had already been gathered for the process.

The Mokihinui riverbed is currently administered by Land Information New Zealand and the board suggested it should also be included in the national park.

Board chairwoman Clare Backes said the inclusion of the Mokihinui would ensure the area’s protection in the future and stop any further development proposals for “this outstanding natural, undisturbed landscape, and its flora and fauna”.

“The area is already surrounded by the park and reclassification of this land into national park is a logical step,” Ms Backes said.

http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/nat-park-request-hydro-river (http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/nat-park-request-hydro-river)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on September 07, 2012, 08:49:53 pm

House-sized rocks block Haast highway

By NICHOLAS McBRIDE - The Greymouth Star | Thursday, 06 September 2012

Workers survey the extent of the rockfall on State Highway 6 at Izzy's Bluff. — Photo: Mark Price.

FIFTY to 100 truckloads will be required to clear a rockslide on the eastern side of Haast Pass that has kept State highway 6 closed since early this morning.

NZ Transport Agency West Coast area manager Mark Pinner said rocks as big as houses would need to be broken up before they could be moved. The slip was brought down about 2am at Izzy’s Bluff, between Makarora and Hawea.

Rocks had fallen across the highway and were continuing to fall late this morning. Contractors were working to break up and remove an estimated 1000 cubic metres of rock.

They would then stabilise the slip to prevent more loose material falling down.

Central Otago area manager John Jarvis said geotech engineers were brought in from Alexandra to assess the situation.

Rocks of up to 8m diameter had come down and workers also had to make sure it was safe even to work in the area, he said.

An update on the road status was expected about 6pm.

http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/house-sized-rocks-block-haast-highway (http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/house-sized-rocks-block-haast-highway)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 19, 2012, 07:25:43 pm

GRRRRRRRRRR....the bloody GREEDIES are at it again!  (http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww32/XtraNewsCommunity2/Animated%20emoticons/20_BangHead.gif)

Haast link resurrected

By REBEKAH FRASER - The Greymouth Star | Monday, 12 November 2012

THE Haast-Hollyford road link — mooted for more than 130 years — is back on the agenda with an upbeat Westland District Property Ltd, which says it has found funding for the $220 million project and is drafting resource consent applications.

The property company presentation, released to the Guardian on Friday, sets out the latest developments on the proposal.

Chairman Durham Havill said the property company had signed a memorandum of understanding, conditionally committed by design, build, finance and maintenance partners, which included the offshore funding to build the road.

“There is no financial risk to Government. There is no financial input or financial risk to Westland district ratepayers. With a sound construction price and overseas investment the project only requires Government support to start the process.”

The presentation sets out the price of the road and bridge construction as $220m. It would also cost $5m just to obtain the resource consents.

Mr Havill, a former Westland Mayor, said the proposed toll road would complete the “missing link” in the South Island loop.

“It is exciting and will do more for Westland and Southland economies than the Haast Road did when it opened in 1965.

“This is not just a road, it’s the completion of an exciting new tourism product — ‘The South Island Loop’ — for operators to promote to the five-day Chinese, Indian and Indonesian markets.”

The idea of a Haast-Hollyford road has been circulating since the 1860s. It would follow the coastline south from the road end at the Arawhata River bridge, and then head inland at Martins Bay to connect through the Hollyford Valley to the Milford Road.

Mr Havill said the design, build and financial proposal was for 30 years and then the road would revert to Westland. Westland would retain a share in the project from its opening date.

From year five, profits from Westland’s share would help meet infrastructure costs brought on by increased tourist numbers, he said.

“By year 31 we expect an amount will be injected into the Westland economy each year that will place Westland in the strongest financial position of any council in New Zealand.”

The presentation said 1500 construction and associated jobs would be created in Southland and Westland. The road would reduce travelling time and distance between Haast and Mildford Sound.

“It is more cost effective and has less environmental impact than the coastal route. It offers an alternative route when the great Alpine Fault adjusts.”

Mr Havill said the next step was to start discussion with investors who were either infrastructure focused or had a Westland and Southland interest, with the aim of bringing them in as strategic Westland partners.

That would then allow the resource consent process to begin in earnest, Mr Havill said.

“The Hollyford-Haast road will be ‘the road’ to the last best place and every person in Westland will benefit.”

The property company took over the project from the Westland District Council last year.

The presentation by the property company was one of 14 presented at a closed meeting of other Westland businesses and organisations earlier this month.

http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/haast-link-resurrected (http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/haast-link-resurrected)

Hollyford link ‘madness’

By REBEKAH FRASER - The Greymouth Star | Tuesday, 13 November 2012

CONSERVATIONISTS have slammed the revived plans for a possible Haast-Hollyford road link, saying it would ruin one of the world’s last great wilderness areas.

Westland District Property Ltd has said it has found funding for the $220 million project and is currently drafting resource consent applications.

A road connecting the current road end at Cascade with the Hollyford Valley behind Martins Bay, has been mooted since the 1860s. The suggested road would hug the coastline of deep South Westland before turning inland at Martins Bay and along the shore of Lake Alabaster at the head of the Hollyford.

Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge owner and conservationist Gerry McSweeney yesterday labelled the plan “madness” and promised a fight to stop it.

“There are a number of reasons this should not be considered. It would be a tragedy. The road would destroy a World Heritage Area.”

Mr McSweeney said maintaining the existing Haast highway was already a challenge and funds should focus on better infrastructure on the existing highway.

“Highway 6 is a magnificent tourist highway that is used by huge numbers of people. We need to keep that in top notch condition.

“I’d rather see something done to the Waiho bridge at Franz Josef. If that flood-prone bridge was blown out tomorrow, the entire West Coast tourism industry would be in trouble.”

A Haast-Hollyford road could actually negatively impact tourism in South Westland.

“We are a destination, not an ice-cream stop. We are dealing with an area that is really special — it’s madness that this road is still on the agenda.”

Forest and Bird West Coast chairwoman Kathy Gilbert, a tourist operator at Mikonui, said they were keen to protect areas that were intact and unmodified.

“This is one of those areas. This will be an issue for us.”

If it went ahead the road would open up the area for further development.

“Once there are roads in an area other things start happening. It’s much easier for pests and weeds to start spreading.”

She also wanted to see the funds diverted into other areas.

“Why not put the funds into getting local people to develop brilliant eco-tourism in South Westland instead of the buses that scream in and out in two days?

“Slow people down and give them some real experiences. People will come here to see what is unique,” she said.

“If we can keep it as it is, we will be a generation that is thanked in the future.”

The Westland District Council’s property company said it had signed a memorandum of understanding, conditionally committed by design, build, finance and maintenance partners, which included the offshore funding to build the proposed toll road.

http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/hollyford-link-%E2%80%98madness%E2%80%99 (http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/hollyford-link-%E2%80%98madness%E2%80%99)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: nitpicker1 on November 19, 2012, 07:38:59 pm

see also


Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on January 02, 2013, 05:02:42 pm

Westland cut in half after bridge washed away

By JULIAN LEE of the Hokitika Guardian with APNZ (http://www.apnz.co.nz) staff | 4:01PM - Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The washed out section of the Wanganui River bridge near Harihari.
 — Photo: Hokitika Guardian.

WESTLAND was cut in half this morning when bulging waters tore a chunk off of the northern end of the Wanganui bridge just north of Harihari, severing all transport and communications between South Westland and the rest of the West Coast.

The only fibre optic cable to the area, which ran along the bridge and which South Westlanders rely on for phone and internet use, was also cut when part of the bridge disappeared into the river.

New Zealand Transport Agency area manager Mark Pinner said he was under the impression that all communications to South Westland had been cut, including mobile reception and radio, which relied on the cable.

He said teams were already dumping rocks further up the river to try to bring the river back to its natural course.

"It's hard to say when we can fix it. If the damage is just to the road we could open it tomorrow, but if the bridge itself has been compromised then it will take much longer."

Police constable Jason Martin was one of the first on the scene and was surprised to see people on the teetering bridge trying to get a closer look at the damage.

"When I turned up there were people on the bridge — people were arriving to take videos and photos. What was most disappointing to me was seeing some locals up there."

All telephone, internet and cellular lines ran through the cable, meaning about 1000 homes cannot communicate outside of the region, Snap chief executive Mark Petrie said.

"They're completely isolated down there at the moment."

Technicians were on their way to site to begin reconnecting the cable.

It was hoped they would be on site by about 10.30pm tonight (Wednesday), and they would work through the night to repair it.

In the meantime, Chorus has a technician at the telephone exchange who would be monitoring for any 111 calls.

"He'll have a satellite phone with him, so if there's any 111 calls he will be able to call out."

Further south, 120 trampers trapped in Milford Track huts for two nights started walking out this morning.

The Department of Conservation reopened the famous walking track in Fiordland National Park today after water levels reached head-height in some parts yesterday.

There were fears last night the three groups would have to be flown out by helicopters today after heavy rain lashed the area.

They spent two nights trapped in huts after the rainfall saw rivers rise and forced the closure of the popular walk.

DOC last night said parts of the track were impassable, but the walkers were warm, dry and in high spirits.

But this morning the trampers were back on the track as the rain eased.

MetService duty forecaster Allister Gorman said 440mm of rain had fallen in Milford Sound over the last two days.

It had now eased off and should clear completely by early this afternoon.

But elsewhere on the West Coast, and in the Southern Alps, forecasters were predicting that rainfall could reach record levels today.

Southern Westland had a severe weather warning in place until 5pm today, while it would remain further north until 9pm.

Rainfall at some stations had reached 500mm in the last two days, Mr Gorman said.

It would result in a surge of water coming down east coast rivers, he said.

And while warnings had been lifted for the Otago headwaters, Lake Wakatipu and Lake Wanaka were "rising quite rapidly".

The public had also been warned to stay away from the swollen Rangitata River while a warning for Canterbury's headwaters remained until the early evening.

Canterbury had also been buffeted by gusty north-west winds.

Mount Hutt summit had experienced wind gusts reaching a staggering 200km/h, while Ashburton was buffered by 85km/h gusts, and 95km/h was recorded on the Port Hills above Christchurch.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10857032 (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10857032)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: nitpicker1 on January 25, 2013, 09:55:48 am

36 freedom campers pinged
By Rebekah Fraser

The Westland District Council has dished out an average of a ticket a day to freedom campers in Westland.
 In the past month, it has issued 36 infringement notices to campers caught breaking the new freedom camping bylaw.
 Since December 21, seven campers at Franz Josef Glacier have fallen foul of the rules, 12 at Fox Glacier and 17 in Hokitika.
 Twelve tickets were subsequently cancelled.
 The bylaw, which came in to force in November, bans campers from staying overnight on all council-owned reserves, public land and roads within 1km of all towns and settlements in Westland. But it has no effect over State highways or land managed by the Department of Conservation.
 The New Zealand Motor Caravan Association has filed papers in the High Court against the council, calling for the bylaw to be quashed



Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Lovelee on April 03, 2013, 11:47:07 pm
The Westland District Council has backed down from its freedom camping bylaw, bowing to legal pressure from the powerful New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA).

In January, the lobby group filed papers to the High Court in an attempt to have the bylaw struck out.

Yesterday, the council announced it would review the bylaw and immediately stop enforcing it throughout the district.

Mayor Maureen Pugh said the legal challenge would have cost the council up to $50,000 to defend in court, and that was not seen as the best use of ratepayers' funds.

The bylaw, which came in to force in November, banned campers from staying overnight on all council-owned reserves, public land and roads within 1km of all towns and settlements in Westland. However, it had no effect over state highways or land managed by the Department of Conservation, which remained open to freedom camping.

Mrs Pugh said the backdown was a practical one and did not mean the council wanted freedom campers sleeping in the streets.

The national Freedom Camping Act was "virtually un-enforceable" in Westland given that it did not apply across the whole district, particularly in those areas where the main problems were found, she said.

"The large number of cars, stationwagons and sleepervans being used for camping has meant that our roadsides are virtually open sewers, and there is nothing we can do to control that. It has been particularly offensive during the recent spell of hot dry weather."

Mrs Pugh said she would wait for the outcome of any other challenges the NZMCA would bring to other councils before contemplating whether it would be worth pursuing a change to the law.

Meanwhile, the NZMCA is trumpeting the council's backdown as an "important" victory.

General manager Bruce Lochore said the Westland decision was a victory for its members.

"This is a win for us and for the motor caravan community. We are very pleased with this result."

He said the bylaw was "illegal and unreasonable" for a number of reasons, including that the areas covered were not appropriately defined, there was no proper assessment of the necessity of the bylaw, it was not the best way to address the perceived problem and it limited the right to freedom of movement.

Mr Lochore said the key priority of the NZMCA was to protect and provide for its members.

"Workable bylaws strike the proper balance between protecting local authority areas and respecting the rights of responsible freedom campers. We are looking forward to working with the Westland District Council to find a solution that works."

The NZMCA would now be in touch with other councils about the impact of the legal action and would be looking to engage those whose freedom camping bylaws were unlawful and not "up to scratch".

The council has not yet set a timeframe for the review process.

- The Hokitika Guardian


Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: nitpicker1 on April 04, 2013, 06:52:16 pm

re http://xtranewscommunity2.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,7397.0/msg,148808.html

Hooray!   :D Freedom Crappers win again, so nemmind buying a selfcontained campervan, pack up yr wigwams or tents and head on over to the woolly wilds of Enzed.   

  selected snippets from http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/131905/freedom-camping-bylaw-suspended-in-westland

...They've had no freedom camping in the entire district for non self-contained vehicles. That means that people with tents, families who traditionally go across and camp ... can't do so, so it was overly restrictive." ...

...there is currently no freedom camping enforcement in the Westland District and will not be for the foreseeable future

**but watch where you walk in case someone's been there before you. **  (http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww32/XtraNewsCommunity2/Animated%20emoticons/16_Whistling.gif)


Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: nitpicker1 on April 22, 2013, 01:54:06 pm


NZMCA playing bullyboys again?   

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Yak on April 22, 2013, 05:10:32 pm


NZMCA playing bullyboys again?   

Other way round, methinks -  At the behest of the campground proprietors, an attempt was made to force all campervans into campgrounds.

I don't have a problem with those that don't have dunnies and wastewater tanks being forced into campgrounds, but for those like myself who were self contained and who only stayed in a place for one night and left nothing but tyre marks to show where I had been, it was very pissing off.

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: nitpicker1 on April 23, 2013, 02:34:59 am

Other way round, methinks -  At the behest of the campground proprietors, an attempt was made to force all campervans into campgrounds.

I don't have a problem with those that don't have dunnies and wastewater tanks being forced into campgrounds, but for those like myself who were self contained and who only stayed in a place for one night and left nothing but tyre marks to show where I had been, it was very pissing off.

Seems to me the art of negotiation involves both parties asking for more than they are prepared to accept, IMO many motorcamps have priced themselves out of existence by over extending their facilities. Campers of modest means are happy to avoid them.



Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Yak on April 23, 2013, 09:03:18 am
Seems to me the art of negotiation involves both parties asking for more than they are prepared to accept, IMO many motorcamps have priced themselves out of existence by over extending their facilities. Campers of modest means are happy to avoid them.

And so we get the proprietors pressuring the councils to force campers to use their overpriced camps.

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: ssweetpea on April 23, 2013, 10:56:21 am

Other way round, methinks -  At the behest of the campground proprietors, an attempt was made to force all campervans into campgrounds.

I don't have a problem with those that don't have dunnies and wastewater tanks being forced into campgrounds, but for those like myself who were self contained and who only stayed in a place for one night and left nothing but tyre marks to show where I had been, it was very pissing off.

Seems to me the art of negotiation involves both parties asking for more than they are prepared to accept, IMO many motorcamps have priced themselves out of existence by over extending their facilities. Campers of modest means are happy to avoid them.

The council rates on prime beachfront land probably has more than a little to do with the cost.

Still that is the reason why friends of mine along with many others have gone for self-contained freedom camping.

I must admit I am more of a back to basics camper as in:
toilet block with shower - yes,
cookhouse/kitchen - optional,
TV room -I probably won't even look for it.
electricity - who needs it?

My husband however........I haven't convinced him to go camping either in a tent or at the powerless (and plumblingless) Girls' Brigade bach. I might get him in a self-contained campervan...so long as the kids are in a different van or left at home.

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: donquixotenz on April 23, 2013, 11:10:31 am
Port Jackson top of coromandel peninsular... magic spot.  great fishing and walks. basic amenities. no wankers.
used to be a supply truck once a week from Coleville. might be a tuckshop and power now days. take a tent for the kids lol....

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: nitpicker1 on May 22, 2013, 07:52:01 pm

Funeral fracas left innocent bystander unconscious
By Greymouth Star staff

4:05 PM Wednesday May 22, 2013

 :o http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10885434  ::)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on August 23, 2013, 05:57:25 pm

Massive fallen boulders block Haast highway

Otago Daily Times | Friday, 23 August 2013

SH6 BLOCKED: The fallen boulders near Clarke Bluff. — Photo: NZTA.

A ROCKFALL “the size of a house” has fallen onto State Highway 6 on the West Coast, completely blocking the road.

The boulders, measuring about 10m x 10m, came down about 1km west of Clarke's Bluff, 15km west of the Gates of Haast, says the NZ Transport Agency's Senior Asset Manager West Coast Mark Pinner.

“The rocks are together about the size of a house, weighing 200 to 300 tonnes. Early indications are that it will not be possible to remove the rocks without blasting them into chunks.”

SH6 BLOCKED: The fallen boulders near Clarke Bluff. — Photo: NZTA.

“Our contractors are already on site assessing stability of the rock face and a specialist driller is heading to the site to begin work as quickly as possible to remove the rocks and re-open the highway.”

Mr Pinner says a specialist geotechnical expert is also on standby to fly into the area if required.

• Check road status HERE (http://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/current-conditions/highway-info/road/8373/south-island.html).

http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/270052/massive-fallen-boulder-blocks-haast-highway (http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/270052/massive-fallen-boulder-blocks-haast-highway)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on August 24, 2013, 04:29:45 pm

One lane only after rocks fall on SH6

By CATHERINE PATTISON - Otago Daily Times | Saturday, 24 August 2013


STATE HIGHWAY 6 from Haast to Lake Hawea reopened to single-lane traffic yesterday afternoon after several massive rocks fell on to the highway earlier that morning, closing the road to all traffic.

The New Zealand Transport Agency's West Coast senior asset manager, Mark Pinner, said contractors were remaining on site, about 15km west of the Gates of Haast, until dusk yesterday. They were continuing to clear the slip and remove as much of the rocks and debris as possible.

“A significant number of large boulders fell on to the road 1km west of Clarke's Bluff. These are extremely large and we are having to blast most of them to be able to remove them from the highway,” he said.

“It is estimated 750 tonnes of rock has fallen. It will be blasted and removed to Burke Flat.”

A geotechnical expert was flown to the site early yesterday afternoon to check that the site had stabilised and that it was safe for motorists to travel through the area.

“Our contractors will be on site again at first light [today] to keep working on clearing the road. Motorists are advised to expect delays as this work progresses throughout the weekend,” Mr Pinner said.

It was not known yet what had caused the massive rockfall. NZTA Christchurch media manager Jan McCarthy said she believed the rock material was of a similar type to that which fell in September last year at Izzy's Bluff, between Makarora and Hawea.

She estimated there was about 45km between that rockfall and the one yesterday.

http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/west-coast/270174/one-lane-only-after-rocks-fall-sh6 (http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/west-coast/270174/one-lane-only-after-rocks-fall-sh6)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on September 12, 2013, 07:00:07 pm

Major slips block southern highways

Otago Daily Times | Thursday, 12 September 2013

BLOCKED: State Highway 6, between Makarora and Haast, remains closed
today due to storm-related slips and debris blocking access. This major
slip at Diana Falls, just south of the Gates of Haast bridge, poses
the biggest challenge to getting the road reopened.

A LARGE SLIP blocking the Haast Pass will be inspected by contractors this morning.

The slip on State Highway 6 between Haast and Makarora was brought down by yesterday's wild weather, which hammered the lower half of the country with gale-force winds and heavy rain.

The highway remains blocked this morning, leaving motorists facing detours of hundreds of kilometres.

A New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman said contractors would inspect the slip this morning.

"They've got to get a pretty accurate picture of what they're dealing with, and it's in quite a tricky area," he said.

"Until we've got that, it's pretty hard to know what steps they take to move forward."

The slip comes less than a month after SH6 was reopened following a massive rockfall that closed the highway between Haast and Lake Hawea.

The road was reopened to a single lane of traffic on August 23rd.

Elsewhere, snow has closed SH94, between Knobs Flat and Milford Sound, while further north, SH7 remains closed due to flooding between the Hanmer turn-off and Springs Junction. An update is expected later this morning.

Earlier it was reported that SH 6 was closed at 8am yesterday and NZTA contractors and consultants — including a bridge engineer and geotechnical engineer — spent the day attempting to gain access to the affected sites to assess damage to the road and the stability of the newly exposed rock faces.

NZTA West Coast area manager Mark Pinner said some progress had been made at the smaller slip sites. However, the major slip at Diana Falls, about 1.5km south of the Gates of Haast bridge, was a significant concern.

The Diana Falls site was "still active", with rock falling from above the road. Because of safety issues, contractors could inspect the area only from a distance.

The large rocks blocking the road at the Diana Falls site would most likely have to be blasted into smaller pieces for removal, and the rockface above would possibly require sluicing to remove the loose material, Mr Pinner said.

Access to the West Coast was still available via Arthurs Pass and Lewis Pass, and through to the north at Nelson.

Limited communication with Milford Sound meant the agency was unable to ascertain how many people were stranded in the township, NZTA Southland area manager Peter Robinson said.

However, "plenty of advance warning" was given to those in the area, meaning they "could leave if they wanted to".

"As of [yesterday] morning, they were still having trouble with communications down there, but no-one's raised any issues."

BLOCKED: Avalanches have affected a 12km stretch of the Milford road, including in these two spots
on the west side of the Homer tunnel.

While debris and dozens of fallen trees were cleared from a 35km section of road from Te Anau Downs to Knobs Flat yesterday afternoon, the 56km stretch from Knobs Flat to Milford Sound remained closed.

Mr Robinson said there had been several avalanches — primarily confined to a 12km section of the highway — along with slips caused by the storm, which brought about 300mm of rain in 24 hours and was described as "one of the worst in 25 years".

The worst avalanche on State Highway 94 was about 5m deep — while it wasn't "big by Milford Road avalanche standards", the major issue facing the agency was the number of avalanches blocking the road.

Fortunately, forecasted bad weather, predicted to deliver 60cm to 80cm of fresh snow yesterday, failed to eventuate, meaning road contractors made better progress than expected.

"It's still going to be a major job getting the road reopened, with several avalanches blocking the highway and damaged road surfaces needing repairing to make the road safe."

Strong winds also closed Treble Cone skifield, near Wanaka, yesterday for the second consecutive day. Cardrona Alpine Resort was open, but a lightning strike on the Whitestar chairlift on Tuesday night caused some electrical damage that took staff about an hour and a-half to repair yesterday morning.

http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/otago/272680/start-clean-after-slips-block-highways (http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/otago/272680/start-clean-after-slips-block-highways)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on May 21, 2015, 10:04:43 pm

from The Press....

Franz Josef earthquake plan gets go ahead

By SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR | 3:51PM - Monday, 18 May 2015

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/News%20Story%20Pix%202015/20150518_1431921086203s_zpszarhrps8.jpg) (http://www.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/4/7/v/t/g/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.14v6ad.png/1431921086203.jpg)
Mapping has shown the Alpine Fault runs directly under some Franz Josef businesses, including
the Mobil petrol station, the Helicopter Line offices and part of the supermarket.
 — Photo: Sarah-Jane O'Connor.

A PLAN to manage earthquake risk in a busy West Coast tourist town has been given the go ahead by commissioners.

Franz Josef is the only town to straddle the Alpine Fault. The Westland District Council has proposed a fault avoidance zone, 100 metres either side of the fault, running through the middle of the town.

Building consents within the zone would have to meet more rigorous standards and changes made to existing buildings would be limited.

Independent commissioners Gary Rae and John Lumsden accepted the change to the district plan, following a hearing in March.

Business owners told the pair they felt they were effectively being red-zoned and feared they would not be compensated if they had to relocate.

The Franz Josef zone includes 30 properties, including the police station, petrol station, supermarket and a motel.

On Monday, the council said commissioners had accepted the plan change with some amendments.

Buildings that had a “low consequence” of failure, such as small storage sheds, fences and in-ground swimming pools, would be exempt.

Prospecting, vegetation clearance and mining activities would not have further restrictions.

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/News%20Story%20Pix%202015/20150521_1430889344064s_zpsowclqk24.jpg) (http://www.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/4/o/j/i/q/image.related.StuffPortrait.238x286.14v6ad.png/1430889344064.jpg)
The Waiho River, near Franz Josef, in
flood in May. Flood-prone businesses
were relocated from its banks in
2003 and compensated.
 — Photo: NZTA.

The plan change was publicly notified in August 2012 but staffing issues at the council meant progress was delayed.

Westland District Mayor Mike Havill said the Franz Josef community had been waiting for a decision for “some time, so that it can move forward with some certainty”.

Submitters have until June 30th to appeal the decision through the Environment Court.

Geologists estimate the Alpine Fault ruptures on average every 300 years, producing a magnitude 7-8 earthquake when it does. The last time it shook was 298 years ago.

The Helicopter Line general manager Grant Bisset told the commissioners in March that if the science was correct, then a bigger solution was required to manage long-term risk.

Several business owners said compensation should be on offer to help them move out of the zone.

In 2003, local authorities and central government contributed $2 million to relocate flood-prone businesses on the south bank of the Waiho River, on the outskirts of Franz Josef.

Related stories:

 • ‘Red-sticker’ fears for West Coast town (http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7554411)

 • Franz Josef locals in limbo over fault plan (http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/west-coast/67551004)

 • When, not if: Alpine fault could cause 8 metres of movement (http://www.stuff.co.nz/science/67617031)

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/west-coast/68639125/franz-josef-earthquake-plan-gets-go-ahead (http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/west-coast/68639125/franz-josef-earthquake-plan-gets-go-ahead)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: nitpicker1 on March 25, 2016, 02:03:18 pm


Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on September 14, 2016, 03:50:15 pm

Well....he really “lost the plot!”

from Fairfax NZ....

Mechanic Clive Jenkins unaccounted for
after house fire in West Coast's Franz Josef

“Place is alight, my partner's inside.”

By MARTIN VAN BEYNEN | 9:05AM - Wednesday, 14 September 2016

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/News%20Story%20Pix%202016/20160914_1473813407259sa_zps5s39xlgh.jpg) (http://www.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/e/5/n/4/a/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1e5djv.png/1473813407259.jpg)
A blaze rages at Franz Josef Mechanical in the West Coast town on Tuesday night.
 — Photograph: Joanne Carroll/Fairfax NZ.

A DISTRAUGHT WOMAN ran for help as her mechanic partner drove a bulldozer around his burning property, with guns in the cab.

She arrived at the Franz Alpine Retreat, about 400 metres from the inferno at Franz Josef Mechanical, in a “terrible state” on Tuesday night.

The woman told retreat manager Keith Hartley: “The place is alight and my partner is inside”, he said.

The fire destroyed the home and workshop on Donovan Drive. It is about four kilometres from the popular tourist town, which is 138km south of Hokitika in Westland.

Jenkins, who is regarded as a “top bloke” by locals, has not yet been found, but his body is thought to be inside the burnt-out building.

Hartley, who began managing the Franz Alpine Retreat a week ago, said Jenkin's partner arrived on his doorstep about 7.35pm “absolutely distraught”.

“She was a terrible state saying the place was alight and her partner was inside. She had lost her shoes and was sopping wet. She was in a terrible state. She said they had had a fight. I don't know what it was about.”

“I shot up there to see if I could do anything and I called out to see if I could get him, but the place was already engulfed and he would not have heard me.”

“I grabbed one of the hoses that was on the outside, but the windows started popping out and I thought it was too dangerous to be there. The car and things around. I didn't know what was inside. It's big enough to be put buses in.”

Hartley said he went back to the motel and police and firefighters arrived.

“There was nothing they could do. The flames were a good five metres high. Nobody could get near it.”

Hartley had never met Jenkins or his partner. Local people took the woman home, he said.

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/News%20Story%20Pix%202016/20160914_1473813407259sb_zpsvgyksztd.jpg) (http://www.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/e/5/q/k/6/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1e5djv.png/1473813407259.jpg)
Franz Alpine Retreat manager Keith Hartley said Clive Jenkin's partner arrived on
his door-step in “a terrible state”. — Photograph: Joanne Carroll/Fairfax NZ.


Police said the partner phoned them about 7.40pm on Tuesday.

“We received a call from a man's partner saying he was driving a bulldozer over the property and that the house, which is also a mechanical workshop, was on fire.”

“The partner was not at the scene and was not in danger. She was being cared for by nearby residents and police.”

“Police believe the man had a number of firearms wrapped in a blanket and that he was carrying a barrel of oil in the bucket of the bulldozer.”

“Police arrived at the scene and immediately cleared the area to provide safety for nearby residents.”

“Inquiries are ongoing to locate the male occupant.”

Volunteer firefighters attended, but could initially do little because of the “ongoing risk around dangerous goods and the severity of the fire”.

Acting West Coast Police Area Commander Senior Sergeant Vicki Walker said police and Fire Service investigators would be at the scene on Wednesday to determine the cause of the fire.

Walker said the investigation was still at an early stage. She could shed no light on what had happened to Jenkins and his whereabouts.

“Police will be maintaining a presence at the scene.”

“Although still to be confirmed, we are not aware of any threat being made to anyone. The public can be reassured that they are not at risk.”

The fire was out by 2.30am. There had been a few minor flare-ups since, she said.

“Police on the West Coast would like to thank the people of Franz Josef for their patience and cooperation during the event.”

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/News%20Story%20Pix%202016/20160914_1473813407259scr_zpspzkvn70x.jpg) (http://www.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/e/5/o/b/3/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1e5djv.png/1473813407259.jpg)
The remains of the fire-ravaged mechanic and workshop, owned by “top bloke” Clive Jenkins.


Fox Glacier fire chief John Sullivan said police told his crew to gather at a safe place when they arrived. The fire was left to burn itself out.

“The roof was collapsing and the walls were caving in when we got there. We were there for a couple of hours,” he said.

Franz Josef had its own volunteer brigade and the Fox brigade was called in to provide support.

Local Four Square owner Chris Roy, who lives in Donovan Drive, said he and Jenkins were mates and when he saw the fire from his front room he didn't know what to think.

“It was a huge fire. Spectacular.”

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/News%20Story%20Pix%202016/20160914_1473813407259sdr_zpshptovoyl.jpg) (http://www.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/e/5/o/8/h/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1e5djv.png/1473813407259.jpg)
Franz Josef Mechanical is a burnt-out wreck after the fire. The workshop and home were
on Donovan Drive in the tourist town, which is 138km south of Hokitika in Westland.


Franz Josef businessman Gavin Molloy said Jenkins was a good friend of his and everyone was very surprised and saddened at what had happened.

“He provides a damn good service for the area. I was just there yesterday afternoon and there was no sign anything was about to happen. We are devastated. He is a very obliging bloke. a real good guy.”

Clark Johnson, the owner of Fox Glacier Motors, said Jenkins was a clever and capable person.

Jenkins worked for him in the past and built up his own successful business in Franz Josef over about eight years.

The house was attached to the mechanic's workshop.

Jenkins had worked for a European circus making props like dragons. Jenkins was interested in most motor sports.

“He was into most things. He is a good guy,” Johnson said.

A former Franz Josef resident said Jenkins recently went through a relationship break-up. He hoped he'd had support.

“If you're struggling, it [the town] is pretty isolating.”

Jenkins is a “top bloke” who goes “the extra mile” for people, he said.

“He's quite a big part of the neighbourhood. He's a top mechanic. He's a top chap.”

Another local posted online on Tuesday night that Jenkins “found it all a bit much this evening”.

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/News%20Story%20Pix%202016/20160914_1473813407259ser_zpsjafnydnb.jpg) (http://www.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/e/5/n/g/n/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1e5djv.png/1473813407259.jpg)
Police dog handlers in Franz Josef on Wednesday morning.
 — Photograph: Joanne Carroll/Fairfax NZ.


The Armed Offenders Squad was on stand-by, but was not used.

At 11pm on Tuesday police said the fire was under control and they had no concerns for the safety of the public.

Co-owner of the Alpine Retreat on Donovan Drive, Shirley Hartley, said police told guests to lock their doors and stay inside.

GLACIER COUNTRY (http://www.glaciercountry.co.nz)

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/84231643 (http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/84231643)

Title: Re: Doing it on the Wild West Coast
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on December 10, 2016, 02:12:05 pm

from Fairfax NZ....

An awe-inspiring glacial experience on Fox Glacier

By LIZ CARLSON | 5:00AM - Saturday, 10 December 2016

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/Travel%20Articles%20Pix/20161210_1481253095518sa_zpsayzveqtu.jpg) (https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/g/0/0/q/h/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1g1ks0.png/1481253095518.jpg)
Looking out over the upper neve of Fox Glacier. — Photograph: Liz Carlson/Fairfax NZ.

THERE IS nothing quite so breathtaking as seeing Fox Glacier for the first time. Unless you're seeing it from a helicopter, then it's even more breathtaking. A perfect river of ice down  mighty Aoraki/Mount Cook towards the sea on the West Coast, it's a place that almost defines those cliche travel words “awe” and “wonder”. Being able to see, touch, and experience a glacier is pretty special.

We are lucky now that almost anyone in New Zealand can enjoy this experience with the various hikes and activities (http://youngadventuress.com/2016/07/fox-glacier-heli-hike.html) offered on the ice by Fox Glacier Guiding. There are few places in the world where you can hike and climb on a glacier without having ice experience, let alone start by flying up on to the ice in a helicopter.

But if that's not enough, you can spend the night up on the glacier, at the historic Chancellor Hut (http://www.foxguides.co.nz/browne-fox-chancellor-dome-overnight-heli-trek) next to the ice.

It is now open for guided day trips and overnight tours. Chancellor Hut is one of the oldest huts in New Zealand in its original position.

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/Travel%20Articles%20Pix/20161210_1481253095518sb_zpswyr4s8ng.jpg) (https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/g/0/0/q/f/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1g1ks0.png/1481253095518.jpg)
The historic Chancellor Hut next to Fox Glacier. — Photograph: Liz Carlson/Fairfax NZ.

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/Travel%20Articles%20Pix/20161210_1481253095518sc_zpsifw66to2.jpg) (https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/g/0/0/q/b/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1g1ks0.png/1481253095518.jpg)
In the hut after the sun goes down. — Photograph: Liz Carlson/Fairfax NZ.

Carried in and assembled piece by piece by hand, it's an incredible piece of history in an epic location. In fact, it's worth visiting just to see the hut itself. Perched on the edge of the Chancellor Ridge 200 metres above Fox Glacier, the views are unparalleled. It's the kind of place you want to camp up in for a week or two.

If you head up to Chancellor Hut with Fox Guiding, your trip will involve a helicopter flight in and out which means you don't have to haul up everything you may need in a pack. Fox provides almost everything, including warm sleeping bags, but the good food and drinks are definitely the best part. You just need to bring a camera, and be relatively fit.

After flying up over Fox Glacier to the landing pad at the hut,for the next few hours you'll work your way up, with the guide, through the beautiful tussock and snow grass, gullies, and alpine flowers towards Chancellor Dome. At roughly 2,000 metres, you have one of the best views in New Zealand to yourself. Except for maybe a few kea and chamois.

At the upper neve you see the surrounding glaciers dropping down from the peaks as they form the top of Fox Glacier, which is just incredible to behold. This trip up Chancellor Dome is the perfect introduction to mountaineering in a very safe environment, with guides that live and breathe these mountains.

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/Travel%20Articles%20Pix/20161210_1481253095518sd_zpsrf9myevt.jpg) (https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/g/0/0/q/e/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1g1ks0.png/1481253095518.jpg)
On the descent from Chancellor Dome. — Photograph: Liz Carlson/Fairfax NZ.

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/Travel%20Articles%20Pix/20161210_1481253095518se_zpsj7g8tema.jpg) (https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/g/0/0/q/c/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1g1ks0.png/1481253095518.jpg)
Chancellor Hut under the stars. — Photograph: Liz Carlson/Fairfax NZ.

While most of the trip is hiking and climbing over rocks near the glaciers, it was also my first experience descending a steep gully. While it probably could be done without ropes, having that extra safety made it all the more enjoyable.

Because these are small group tours, you have a little more freedom and flexibility of what you can achieve in the mountains. Depending on your level of fitness, you can definitely make it more challenging on day two, exploring the Chancellor Shelf around the hut, and even descend down towards the glacier at Victoria Flat before being flown back to town.

For someone who loves mountains, this was one of the most enjoyable hikes and adventures I've had in the Southern Alps, made even more special by the fact that it's a rare opportunity, and you have the place to yourself. Going with experienced guides not only taught me a lot of new things but also helped inspire me to push my own boundaries a little further and hope to do more similar adventures.

FOX GLACIER GUIDING (http://www.foxguides.co.nz)




Related story:

 • Backcountry huts of New Zealand — three of the best (http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/destinations/nz/87355185)

http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/destinations/nz/87413616 (http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/destinations/nz/87413616)