Haast highway

We were on the start of the highway joining Wanaka and Haast on the West coast through the mountains. On one side you go up the Makarora river valley, and after the Haast Pass you go down the Haast river valley. On the way there are plenty of short walks and that was what today was all about. If we can't do a long walk we could at least try a few short ones.

Backtracked a kilometre to the start of the trail to the Blue Pools. Just over half an hour return through our beloved fairytale beech forest, via two swing bridges to the pools. Not quite sure about the name, they aren't quite pools, and every glacial river in the world is turquoise. As usual the water was crystal clear. And as usual there were plenty of sandflies (insect repellent with DEET, plus long sleeves, usually means you only get bitten a few times a day).

The next stop was a slightly shorter walk, though not so impressive. There were nice views of the Makarora valley but nothing to take your breath away (well, as long as you have spent a few days in New Zealand and are habituated to amazing views). By now we had a full on revolution on our hands; after two short walks with no prospect of playgrounds the kids were getting tired.

The next walk was barely 200 metres to see the Fantail Falls, a nice little waterfall into a clear river with grey stone beaches (and more sandflies). The kids found it so strenuous we decided to take turns and do the next walk (also 200 metres) to Thunder Creek Falls without them. This waterfall is much taller and more impressive, but not as pretty.

Decided to try and camp nearer Haast, preferably freedom camping on the road to Jackson Bay. Had to rush and skipped the last walk to get to the DOC information centre just in time (in fact 20 minutes before closing, and they were actually nearly walking out of the door). No freedom camping allowed in the area. We knew there were no DOC camps round here so we ended up in a commercial campsite. Well, at least we can get some washing done.

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