Up the west coast

Thu 16 Dec 2010 19:33
Travelled on to Arrowtown, a town with much preserved from the 1850's when it was built to serve the gold mines in the area around Gabriel's Gully and has quite a few of the earliest permanent dwellings and commercial buildings in NZ. The Post Office has kept its original signage.
We found the Chinese settlement unsettling. The European New Zealanders were horrible to the government-invited Chinese immigrants, who kept a very low profile. Our photographs of the restored dwellings show how they lived. Extracts on display from newspapers of the time show how they were viewed, "Almond eyed, leprosy tainted filfthy Chinamen" was the non-PC view at the time, as printed inthe Tuapeke Times of 1885. Nobody wanted them in the country, so to prevent further immigration the government imposed a special tax of NZ£100 (Annual earnings were around NZ£75).
We also found a great cafe with a good gluten free range and a book on their shelves (see http://www.doctorgluten.com) by a NZ Doctor. He lists all of Caroline's symptoms and links them all to eating gluten This doctor reckons at least 10% of the population cannot tolerate gluten and even more people would be better off if they didn't eat it. We were both astonished at how the doctors here seem to know all about these problems and yet several doctors at home failed to mention it after four visits. Perhaps that explains why even Domino's Pizza has GF bases!
Onwards towards the glaciers with a stop at the blue pools at Haast Pass. A gentle walk to the clear glacial pools with a spectacular view of the main divide from across another great swing bridge - one of Caroline's favourite NZ activities as she bounces and sways along. The day's journey was a classic, through and around the World Heritage Mount Aspiring National Park.
Finished the day with the great Fox Glacier. Chunks of ice fall off and are carried away in a fast flowing river across endless rocks left behind when the glacier retreated.
The kerpow and kersplash as chunks of ice the size of cars fall off the glacier face was incredible This was the first glacier we have seen close up and the sound of it calving will not be forgotten. Yet again, what an incredible day.
These valley sides were carved by the glacier, which has retreated to leave just grey rocks.
Spot the blue ice at the bottom, the lump under it is about Transit sized.
Caroline and two mints!