BootsnAll Travel Network



A Hallowe’en to Remember

New Zealand (South Island) Oct 31- Nov 1

From New Zealand (…

The next leg of our trip took us down the South Island’s rugged windswept west coast with its tongue-twister names like Hokitika and Punakaiki where we stopped to see the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes which, unfortunately, weren’t blowing when we were there.

From New Zealand (…
From New Zealand (…


At a roadside rest stop we met up with a surprising example of the local wildlife, a guinea pig!?!

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We also made friends with a flightless Weka who was determined to come along with us.

From New Zealand (…

Our next pit stop was Franz Joseph, home of the Franz Joseph Glacier. Here, we stayed at the Glow Worm Cottages, a quirky little hostel which also provided us with free soup and hot tub.

From New Zealand (…

Since it was Hallowe’en, we improvised some costumes for the kids and went trick or treating.

From New Zealand (…

We quickly discovered that Hallowe’en isn’t a major holiday in New Zealand and kids don’t go door to door to get candy – they hit the businesses. Fortunately, we were able to follow another group of kids around and hit most of the restaurants and bars which were basically doling out their complimentary mints.

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Oh well, at least the kids got to celebrate Hallowe’en and we weren’t stuck with a load of sugary junk to secretly dispose of. The best part of the evening came after dark when we took the kids on a spooky walk in the rainforest in search of glow worms (would you believe it started at a church?).

From New Zealand (…

In keeping with its name, the hostel provided us with a map and torch (aka flashlight) and after a half hour of walking in the dark and telling ghost stories we finally came upon a magical city of glow-worms. We seemed to be surrounded as hundreds of them glowed like tiny phosphorescent stars from the trees, rocks and mossy riverbanks. It was like we’d been transported into a make-believe fantasy world and a fairy or goblin could easily appear at any moment. (Sorry, the pictures didn’t turn out) This was so much better than a commercial tour and was a fabulous way to spend Hallowe’en with our kids. They’ll be talking about this Hallowe’en for many years to come.

After our Hallowe’en adventures, we woke up the next morning to blue skies and sunshine and embarked on our exploration of the area. We hiked back into the rainforest to explore the Tatare Tunnels, which snake through solid rock for about a kilometer before emerging on the other side.

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This place is not for the claustrophobic and I made Claude go first to make sure it was safe (that’s what husbands are for, right?). There was about 6 inches of ice cold water on the floor of the tunnel so, in the end, Claude and I strapped on our headlamps and piggybacked the kids through to the other side and back. At the center of the tunnel we switched our headlamps off and discovered that it was pitch black, except for a colony of glow worms that winked at us from the ceiling.

From New Zealand (…

Next, it was on to the Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers. Unfortunately, the kids were too young to go on guided hike on the glacier, so we had to content ourselves with a hike up to the toe of the giant. The unique thing about New Zealand’s glaciers is that they descend very close to sea level and are surrounded by rainforest, creating a very interesting landscape.

From New Zealand (…

We managed to hike very close to the glacier and Claude even fished a huge chunk of ice out of the river flowing from its base.

From New Zealand (…

The whole area reminded me of a smaller version of the Columbia Icefields in the Rockies. All in all we were very satisfied with our short but eventful journey down the South Island’s west coast.

To see the rest of our photos of the west coast, go to our web album.



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