We spent a wonderful night in Franz Joseph in a little cottage.
The towns we stopped in seemed to get a bit bigger, but even so, the town only
had 1 supermarket, 2 cafes, and some souvenir shops. It’s amazing to me that
people can live in these towns. We woke up to snow capped mountains and headed
over to prepare for our glacier hike. We got giant raincoats, thick wool socks,
bulky boots, and a fanny pack with crampons – it wasn’t even cold out. We did a
mini bush walk to the bottom of the glacier. And boom – we saw the massive
glacier. And it was UNREAL! Basically, it was a huge mound of ice in the valley
of two mountains. And it was really a massive unit. We trekked through some
rocks and over some streams until we were finally on the ice. We took a bit of
a breather to put on our crampons, which were ice picks that we put attached to
the bottom of our boots. We could literally walk vertically down the side of
the glacier with no worries. We hiked for around two hours, went in a natural
igloo, saw little water fall, and went higher up on the mountain than we
expected. Our tour guide was moving quickly and it was a bit of a challenge to
take pics at the same time, but managed. Our guide went off the beaten path and
made his own steps and pathways with his ice pick. The glacier itself was a bit
dirty with mud, which I’m still unsure of how it got there. Hiking this glacier
was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I have done so many exciting
things lately, and this was just really different from the rest of my
adventures. I mean how many times can you say that you hiked one of the largest
glaciers in the southern hemisphere? And…it’s still growing.
After scarfing down lunch and heaps of water, our car was calling
our name for a 6 hour drive to Queenstown. This drive. Was. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.
I cannot properly explain how gorgeous New Zealand is. Every time I looked out
the window, I saw postcard worthy scenery. We passed snow capped mountains, the
beach, lakes, rolling green hills, rainforests, and farms. Literally, this land
had everything. We stopped quite frequently to take photos and we were just in
awe the whole time. As the sun was setting over the city of Queenstown, we were
winding down the side of a mountain and saw one of the most memorable sunsets I
have ever seen. Untouched and truly incredible.
The next morning we awoke to go jetboating. It was the most
exciting jet boat ride in the world – literally. I know what you’re thinking,
how cool can that actually be? And yes, I was skeptical too at first. But WOW!
It was extreme and exciting! I got quite wet, but our driver would scare us as
he steered the boat towards a boulder and then would turn it at the last
minute. We did 360 degree turns. We screamed. We were in the middle of a
gorgeous river with amazing scenery and smells around. It was fun! Then we
headed to Fergburger for lunch – “the most amazing burger place ever” which was
right in the middle of town. I got a really yummy tofu burger! And we bummed
around the town all arvo until it was time to head to the ice bar! I got a
really good/strong drink in a cup made of ice, and the bar was made of ice, and
the seats were ice, and there were ice sculptures. Basically, we were drinking
in a giant freezer. And it was quite cold!
We braced the long drive back to Christchurch at night to fly back
to Melbourne early in the morning.
This is possible my favorite picture from the trip: