Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Like Twizel, Haast was always meant to be just a stopover. And, like Twizel, upon arrival we realised spending anything more than one day here would be difficult.

When I say there was nothing wrong with Haast, this was primarily because there's not enough for there to be anything wrong with. And, similarly, when I say it was nothing to write home about this, in turn, is because I doubt the post van/mail coach comes through here with any alarming regularity, so it would be ultimately fruitless.

With a population fewer than the dwindling bars on my mobile signal, Haast's self-proclaimed "township" status belies its size, significance and remoteness. It seemed only fitting, therefore, that for the second time in my life I found myself in accommodation eerily redolent of The Overlook Hotel from The Shining, with its 1970's faux-alpine furnishings and long beige and paisely corridors. There was even a child's plastic pushbike in the hall.

The kitchen was equally hilarious and looked like a set from an episode of Tomorrow's World from 40 years ago: "Welcome to the Kitchen Of The Future. By the year 1978 every home will have one of these - the Microwave Oven. It's a compact 14 square feet and can cook anything from a Sunday dinner, to a 14-course banquet"

But despite Haast Lodge's timewarp qualities, it was that sense of isolation and wilderness that became its appeal. A trip to nearby Jackson Bay revealed the tiniest fishing village at the most Southerly point on the West Coast's main arterial route - literally the road just petered out into nothing. It consisted of a few shacks, a wooden pier with accompanying seal, and a portacabin fish restaurant called The Cray Pot, advertised infrequently on roadside blackboards all along the 50km road in. A road which was effectively a huge geographical cul-de-sac.

Later, a stop at Haast Beach during the twilight hour, revealed a desolate shale beach littered with all kinds of oceanic bric-a-brac. The sun set. The waves crashed. The wind blustered. Magic.

Haast Beach Photos.........

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