Christmas at the Swingbridge, New Zealand (December 25, 2011)

Sunday, December 25, 2011
Merry Christmas!

Kris and I decided to indulge with kiwi and chocolate chip banana muffins for breakfast. Quite the tasty meal. Then we were off to the Hokitika Gorge and Swingbridge.

We spent far more time enjoying the nature walk at the gorge than it said on the signs, and, while on the swingbridge, I wound up striking up a conversation with an older German couple who thought I was from Britain after I offered to get their photo on the bridge together. They, like many others, seemed quite interested in learning about Texas. They were rather shocked when I said I was from Texas and not England. I've gotten many other guesses, but never the UK. =)

Kris waited patiently below waiting to take my photo on the bridge. The water in the river of the gorge was magnificently turquoise. Spectacular doesn't cover it.

After leaving the gorge, we were off to the Dorothy Falls and Dorothy Creek Trail. The waterfall was so nice, we decided to have Christmas lunch right next to it. We made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ate it on a log next to the falls.

After finishing our meal, we headed on the Dorothy Creek Trail to a lake. I put my feet in, and the water was quite cool.

Next up we went to Hokitika to the Tambo shipwreck and to see the town - a verifiable ghost town for Christmas.

While at the shipwreck, we looked up at the sky. The sun had this remarkable circle surrounding it unlike I'd ever seen before. It turns out that it was a 22 degree solar halo. The clouds were wispy. It all added up to quite an effect.

I decided to stand on an interesting art installation that instructed you to sit.

We then hit the road to go to the Franz Josef Top 10 Holiday Park for the next two evenings. Along the road, the GPS decided to take us on a clever detour away from the highway. Apparently, it thought it smarter to travel on a gravel road into a river than to stay on the highway. We had to do a tricky u-turn to get back to Motorway 6.

We did manage to pass some interesting places.

The town of Franz Josef was closed down except for a gas station and a mobile chinese food truck called Wok Box.

Our campsite is quite large. The restroom block is huge as is the kitchen/dining area. There are quite a few showers (but the blowdryers kept shorting out after 30 seconds of use). There is a small playground for children and a small laundry room. The game room has many games in it (some broken) for a small fee. There is a nice size tv room, and the view from the sites of the mountains are amazing. The grounds are rather nicely manicured as well, and there is a small trail up a small hill on the grounds with a picnic table at the top.

Quite the view from a campsite!

Unfortunately, we found that not all of the games worked.

It was a good thing we made our dinner early. We had grilled cheese sandwiches and pasta. While we were cleaning up, a huge family reunion seemed to commence in the kitchen. There were so many people in there that Kris got quite uncomfortable really quickly. It is bustling and loud at this campground.

It is rather interesting to see all of the ads for Boxing Day tomorrow. It seems to be like our Black Friday. Kris and I finished the evening by watching National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets. What a pile!

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