The last place you expect to find ice cream is by the side of a river 30 kilometers down a gravel road. Okay, probably there is at least one ice cream stand further off the beaten path, but still, it was delicious.
At the suggestion of a hit at the Department of Conservation Visitor Center in Wanaka, we made our way to Raspberry Creek in the Mount Aspiring National Park. Buckbeak, our campervan, started making a noise, so we pulled over to check the tires. They were fine. Luckily, it wasn’t a wasted stop, because there was a tiny ice cream stand with 3 flavors: strawberry, boysenberry, and mixed. We weren’t about to pass up ice cream on our way to our first overnighter of the trip. #delicious
The person running the stand told us that most of the land leading up to where we wanted to camp was owned by the farm she worked for. The government has some sort of agreement with them where they continue to farm the land, but they leave it open for visitors as well. This was good to know, as we might otherwise have been confused by the number of sheep and cattle grazing all about the trail.
We left most of our gear in the van at first and set off for the Rob Roy Glacier. The walk was nice–a gentler grade than the walk to Sealy Tarns, with fewer stairs. And the payoff was completely worth it. When we got to the upper lookout, we could see the full glacier perched on the mountain top. At least 6 streams came cascading of it, merging into waterfalls. These converged into the river we had followed to the glacier.
On our way back to the car, we got stared down by a cow and had to walk around her. We met some people from Florida, echo laughed when we told them we’re from Oregon. “We were just saying how at home, you never met people from Oregon or Washington, but when you’re traveling, like 20% of the people you meet are from there.” While I don’t have any hard numbers to confirm this, I can say that it’s almost as common to hear an American accent here as a New Zealand one.