The briefest trip to New Zealand’s West Coast

I can’t say I wasn’t warned about the sand flies. I just failed to heed the warnings.

Failing to find good multi-day hikes in Mt. Cook or Mt. Aspiring, we decided to cross the Southern Alps, work our way up the West Coast, and visit Arthur’s Pass. As we studied the map, Trevor saw that we would be passing super close to the Tasman Sea.

“That’s pretty cool,” he said. We all agreed that we might as well jump out and touch it if we were going to be so close.

After driving through a really thick, cool jungle, we caught a glimpse of the ocean. We found an access site and jumped out of the van, ready to see a new sea.

14 seconds and 80 bug bites later, we said, “nah,” and got back in the van. We had a bottle of 98% deet and couldn’t spray it on fast enough. In the short time that we had the doors open, about 30 sand flies got in, and we had to pull over to massacre them. It was awful.

But not as awful as it was got another family. As we left the car park, a family of adventurers came running up the sand bank with a look of terror of their face, the mom gripping the hand of an early-elementary agreed child in an attempt to drag them along faster. They had braved the sand flies. They may have touched the water. But I guarantee, they did not enjoy the results.

Published by Andrea Umfleet

Writer, Backpacker, Freelance Technical Editor. Owner of Trask Mountain Editing. I like the Oxford comma.

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