Franz Josef, Wanaka, Queenstown
About 30 mins from Mahinapua was the Bushmans Centre run by the most random man you will ever meet. Their menu included “‘roadkill of the day’ you scrape it up, we’ll cook it”. Dont think he was joking either. Lots of possum skins all over the place! Arrived in Franz Josef and bumped into a school friend who happened to be working in the hostel i was staying in, so those of you who know Doug but havent heard from him in a while – dont worry, hes absolutely fine and having a great time!
Next day, we set off on our 8 hour, 16km glacier hike. Now 16km might not sound like a lot, but when you are climbing over ice and rocks it really takes it ot of you. The tour complany provided us with socks, boots, spikes, ice axes, raincoats, waterproof trousers, hats and gloves. Firstly, it was 3km from the car park to the base of the glacier. Apparently, in the 1930’s this area was all part of the glacier. Then we started upwards. Took us about a couple of hours to get right up and onto a flat (ish) plateau, climbing up ice steps some created early that morning by guides and some created by our guides as we walked. In places they were quite high and near a sheer drop so ropes had to nailed to the ice to help you get up them. The views were amazing.
Once up, we stopped for lunch – theres nothing quite like cheese sandwiches on top of a glacier!!! Then we explored the ice, stopping at some springs with pure water that you could drink, looking and crawling through caves and looking at some of the wierd and wonderful shapes created by the ice. The journey back down was knackering to say the least. Everybody’s legs were aching and walking downhill was much worse and much more slippery. When we got to the bottom we still had 3km back to the car park. Despite the pain in the legs (still got it 2 days later) and the blisters it was a great day and something you’d never be able to do in the UK.
Leaving there, we drove to Lake Matheson, also known as the Mirror Lake for its reflections of Mount Cook. It was quite cloudy when we were there so although you could still see the reflections, the tops of the mountains were covered in clouds. Spent an hour walking around the lake. Stopped at a couple of waterfalls during the rest of the journey to Wanaka.
This morning, we stopped at puzzling world just outside Wanaka to try out there illusions rooms and the room tilited at 15 degrees which really messed with your mind. Just before arriving in Queenstown, we stopped at the Kawarau Bridge Bungy site – the original bungy. Decided to take the plunge and about half an hour later found myself with a bungy cord strapped to my legs and being counted down to leaping 43m off a bridge. Was a lot of fun though and have the dvd and photos for everyone to laugh at!