As the name suggests the pass was open! Phew! Made our day! We woke up very nervous as it practically rained all night, but when we went out for the bathroom – blue skies (in certain areas)! We nervously waited until 10am until the next update was release about the roads – the campervan next to us got cold feet at 9:30 and decided they were not hanging around and were going back up north… we waited…. at about 9:50 – the website hadn’t been updated but there were people coming from the reception with their thumbs up… Cindy and I saw that and jumped into the front – and we were off! As we were about to leave Haast – one of the road workers was taking the road closed sign down – I gave him a big smile and a thumbs up!
We were a bit apprehensive about this stretch – so we didn’t stop much as we wanted to get through just in case they changed their minds – but with some blue skies around we saw the tops of some snow covered mountains and saw some gushing waterfalls – it would be very nice to stop for a walk etc.
When we came up to the place where the big rocks and mud had fallen onto the road, we were held up as it was only one way traffic and only one car could go at a time… this was because they had one person controlling the traffic on each side (letting the one car at a time) and then 2 people at the worst section – both looking up watching for any falling rocks and literally waving at their hands at you to go through the section as fast as possible… it was friggen scary…. I would not like to be those poor guys, putting their neck out there to get the cars through – but very appreciative.
So the drive was very pleasant after that – we stopped and went for about a 45 minute walk return to go see the blue pools which a number of places have told us to go see as the water is meant to be so clear and so blue. It was a very pretty site and has 2 swing bridges, unfortunately with all the rain the pools weren’t so blue or see through but a nice gushing river, they had a stone beach type thing so Cindy and I went down there and went to feel the water – ICE COLD! I told Cindy she should go for a swim – she didn’t agree…
From there we drove toward Wanaka – we started to leave the blue skies behind and into the clouds… We ended up stopping in Cromwell for a nice pie from a bakery and then doing some more grocery shopping before hitting Queenstown… As we driving towards Queenstown and into the mountains (which were awesome) the rain and sleat came intermittently… the sleat was getting pretty heavy as we were coming into the town and as we were pulling into our campervan spot – it had started snowing; more wet big chunks of slush than powdery whiteness, but it made Cindy very happy to walk and jump around in the now heavy falling sleat/snow.
We got our waterproofs and warm gear on (temperature had hit 3.5 degrees) we walked the 10 minutes into town and went to book some adventures for the next few days.
We have booked to go Snow Shoeing tomorrow for a half day– which looks pretty fun and will most likely be going ahead. We will then hope to go up a gondola and do some luging or zip trekking then the next day we will be doing the shot over jet boat ride, small helicopter ride and white water rafting followed by a spa and drink.
The weather forecast is meant to be nice and dry tomorrow so fingers crossed that we can actually do some stuff. Can’t wait!