One of my hobbies when I get bored is to go on Google Maps and find the most out of the way properties in New Zealand. It was in this way that I ran into the Cascade Valley at the southernmost end of the road in Westland.
Anyway, I always wanted to see it and now I have.
It took a wee bit of time to get there though. First we had to drive there and then there was a woman hitching just before Cardrona so we picked her. At the Cardrona pub we found out she had broken up with her girlfriend, realised she did love her, and wanted to see her again.
It might have been the beer or the story but we got right behind this. It made even more sense when we found out her girlfriend was in Franz Joseph on the West Coast. Almost in the direction we were going.
Anyway, it all worked out. There was a happy reunion, and I would do it all again, but I really had forgotten how long it takes to drive up to Franz Joseph and back to Haast. I think we got to the backpackers at 10pm or something.
The next morning we hopped back in the car and drove to Cascade Valley.
Possibly due to the perfect weather it was even better that it looked from the satellite. A strip of green grassy river flat set in ancient forest. Mountains rising behind it and in the distance the other half of the Red Hills, separated by a 1000km from the other half by the alpine slip fault.
It was with great regret I left but we wanted to reach Welcome Flat on the Copland Pass track before sunset.
- The other half of the Red Hills is in the Richmond Ranges. Maybe 1000km away.