Day 21: Taking the looooong way around
OK, first things first.
I am not where I should be right now, but we are fine.
We should be in Wanaka, in a motel over there and should also have been spending the afternoon walking alongside the shores of magnificent Lake Wanaka. Instead, we spent the afternoon, and much of the rest of the day, driving like madmen to get somewhere else than where we started from.
This day started like many others before it, with us sitting at a table having breakfast while enjoying the rains falling down on the roof.
This day however was different, we were going to hop over the mountains to the other side, and would do so on Highway 6. There has been a slip, where part of the mountain started sliding down and that took away the highway at a place called Diana Falls. This is on the Haast Pass, one of two passes useable to get of the other side of the Southern Alps in NZ.
The problem with this slip is, that is gets more unstable the harder it rains. And with the weather we’ve seen the last few days, it would not be good.
This morning, the road remained closed. It closes every night at 7, and reopen sat 8 in the morning. Today, it did not.
The website of the traffic agency said they’d update the status around 10. The rains started lifting at fox Glacier, and we took the chance of just going to Haast to see if the road had opened by then.
Unfortunately, it did not. We arrived at Haast around 10:30 only to find that they’d issue another status update around 2 or 3 in the afternoon.
That is way too late! If the pass opened right then and there, we would make it safely and timely to the other side and to Wanaka, but if it didn’t, we would be stuck in Haast. And you do not want to get stuck in Haast, as the town is tinier than tiny. And it certainly has not got enough rooms to put all the stranded tourists in.
So, we made the decision to not wait for the update, and leave Haast to go to the one other pass: Arthur’s Pass. The unfortunate thing is that route would take us 12 to 14 hours to complete, instead of the 2 through the currently closed pass.
So instead of driving the final 141 km, we embarked on a massive detour. We didn’t even start counting the kilometres of the detour, all we know is that the final tally for today is 741km, 600 extra.
And here we are.
In a town called Geraldine, about halfway to Glenorchy, which is where we should be tomorrow.
The B&B we found is actually really great, and the hosts are wonderful! It is called The Downs B&B, and is in Geraldine Downs. Tomorrow, we have to drive about 6 hours to Glenorchy, and by then our itinerary should be fine. We would have connected back up, and continue from there.
Let’s say today was quite interesting!
By the way, the Fish and Chips were amazing, and the contents of the fridge are complementary with the stay. 🙂[gallery columns=”3″ ids=”2385,2386,2387,2388,2389″]