Feb. 18-March 5, 2011
Glaciers, cruises through sounds, lots of time in the campervan!
02.03.2011 72 °F
So much to report! We've been in the south island for three days now, living completely out of our trusty campervan! We spent all of Monday driving from Arthur's Pass to Franz Josef through Hokitika and Greymouth. The views have been amazing everywhere we've been, and we are stopping often for the plethora of kodak moments. We did a short hike along the pass to some beautiful waterfalls, we went jade shopping (the famous local variety is called ponamu) and we also made a stop at the Monteith's brewery.
On Tuesday, we woke up in Franz Josef to do our glacier hike! And it was awesome! The glacier (kiwis pronounce it glah-see-err) is HUGE and appears as an array of colors, depending how you look at it. We hiked through a valley to get to the base of it and then up and over a giant collection of loose rocks. Then we strapped on our crampons (spikes for your shoes) and tramped onto the ice. It was really fun and incredibly scenic. It had been raining when we left that morning, but just in time for us to step foot on the ice, it cleared up as if on cue. I loved it.
Then, in the afternoon, we set off for Te Anau, which was our planned stopover for the night on our way to Milford Sound. We had dinner in Queenstown and that also happens to be where we're headed right now. We're on our way back from Milford Sound after doing the nature cruise. What a gorgeous place! The boat ride was about three hours, which was spent marveling at the sheer grandeur of it all, plus getting soaked by the occasional rogue spray and/or tight turn past a waterfall. We had a blast.
I have to say, though, one of the highlights of the trip was earlier today when we got stuck in traffic due to a sheep crossing! It was perfect! We had been wanting some close-up views of sheep since we are seeing them everywhere, but anytime we try to sneak up, the little buggers run. But today they came to us! We were surrounded. It was awesome. And it only lasted a few minutes, which helped with the annoyance factor .
We just decided to name our campervan: Bessie the Cattlebeast (yes, that's what they call cows here). Life in the camper has been interesting. I'm sleeping on the top bunk, which is only slightly claustrophia-inducing. We've been staying at campervan parks, so there are bathrooms and showers readily available, which makes the whole thing MUCH more tolerable! We only have two more full days here and then we head back home to the States . So sad!