|Gran, Thomas and Amy starting the road trip in Dunedin|
For Christmas we decided to treat Gran to a few days in Dunedin. She was keen on going in order to check out the Casino and the new butterfly exhibit at the museum which was the talk of the retirement village! So we packed into Gran's car with way too much luggage and a chilly bin full of Christmas food, and drove down the coast stopping a few times to look at the ocean. Once in Dunedin, we walked around a bit, Amy and Gran went to the butterfly exhibit, and got up close and personal with hundreds of butterflies. Only later did we learn that Gran killed an innocent butterfly by accident while grabbing for the handrail. Smoosh. Whoops.
Amy and Gran had an afternoon at the casino, but eventually Amy left Gran to it, and we both went to the Otago Settlers Museum, trying on 1800s couture and looking at the very cool exhibits of the early settlement of Otago. We stopped off in St. Clair's on the way out, and soon we were off through Central Otago for Queenstown.
After our 'Christmas Extravaganza', we headed off in the convoy including the three of us in Gran's car, and mum and dad in their rental, headed towards Haast. We had a wee stop in Wanaka, stopped for views around Lake Wanaka and walked to the Blue Pools. The rain was coming down hard that night, but we made it to our hotel early enough to grab dinner and a beer, and then head down to Haast beach. We popped our way into one of the many beach driveways only to surprise a woman who was standing naked by her car. It was the highlight of Haast.
Up the coast we continued, through Bruce Bay, and on to the Glaciers. Around this time, Thomas started coming down with some strange tummy bug, and the real bugs were coming out in record numbers. It became a matter of life and death how fast you could get in and out of the car, and how few sand flies would be let in. None of us succeeded very well.
We stopped at both glaciers, and did a walk up to the base of both of them as well. At the first, Thomas, Amy and Steve walked up the steep trail leading to Fox Glacier, and we were all surprised by how significantly it had receded.
We stopped for lunch at Franz Josef Glacier, but this time only Thomas and Amy continued on to walk up to the glacier. Even more shocking than Fox, the trail to the base led us over part of the ice which was covered by rocks. We tried to remember what it was like the last time we were both here in 2012, and again what it looked like back when we both originally came in 2006 and 2010. Amy had done a walking tour in 2010, and only five years later, you can no longer walk onto either of the glaciers because the terminal faces are too unstable. We were really blown away with the transformation of the once monumental 'rivers of ice', and truly saddened at the state of the glaciers, and really urge all to visit the Coast and check out the glaciers while they are still around.
|Thomas walking along some ice sheet. No Big Deal.|
We spent that night in Greymouth. After some pizza, and a few cheeky drinks, we all walked to the beach and threw some stones and turned a log of wood into a bat and smashed some rocks out to sea with a few good whacks.
|Breathtaking Arthur's Pass|
The last leg of our Devo Family Road Trip involved a detour around Lake Brunner, then through Arthur's Pass National Park, over Porter's Pass and back across the Canterbury Plains. Mum and dad spent a week in Christchurch, where we took them around to our favourite drinking establishments, cooked them yummy meals, showed off some mad windsurfing skills and played more games. It was a fantastic way to end off 2014, and to ring in the new year.
|Devo Family on the Canterbury Plains|