Published: February 13th 2010February 10th 2010
Well today was our first full day of rain and clouds, not too shabby since we have been gone for over 3 weeks now. We left Mahinapua around 9:45am and rode 45 minutes to our first and only stop of the day due to the weather, some Bushman Center.
It was a café with a gift shop and a museum about life in the area before tourism. The museum had live possums, an albino possum, a large pig and a DVD about deer hunting. We didn’t pay the 4NZD admission to go into the small museum since we have seen all those animals back in the US. The owner was actually not friendly or worried about us as individuals cause he told us we needed to hurry up cause he had 2 more buses this morning. WHAM BAM thank you mam type of place. They did serve Possum Pies there but we chose not to eat possum.
Back on the bus in the rain and we were on our way to Franz Josef. We are excited to finally stay in the same town for 2 nights as we haven’t done that since our first 2 nights in Sydney with
my parents. It was only a 90 minute bus ride from the bushman center to Franz Josef but it was quite windy and made one girl sick; didn’t help that she was really hung over from the costume party.
Once we arrived in Franz Josef we paid for our Ice Climbing adventure that would happen tomorrow. It was a full 8 hour day of hiking the glacier and ice climbing for 240NZD=$172USD. Since we bought this tour we then got tickets to the Glacier Hot Pools for 14NZD=$10 instead of 22 NZD. Then we rode to the Rainforest Retreat hostel.
There were 4 couples wanting double rooms but only 3 double rooms so our driver put our names in a hat and we were the “Unlucky” couple that didn’t get a double room. During the check in process the resort gave away one free beer and a glass of wine, fortunately I took the glass of wine by raising my hand first. While we were waiting in line to get our dorm the oldest couple on our bus, Rachelle and Gunter, came into the lobby and said their double room had a queen bed and a bunk bed
that we could share their room with them if we wanted.
We took them up on the offer as it only cost us 32.50NZD=$23.40USD for the night instead of 26NZD=$18.72USD per person for a 5 or 6 bed dorm room. We booked and paid for the double room for our second night as there was one available then 65NZD=$46.80. Once we got settled into the room we decided to walk to the grocery store to buy some food for our 8 hour hiking adventure.
Franz Josef has only 5 streets and is all hotels/hostels/campervan parks, cafes, souvenir shops and tour guides for the activities on the glacier. Only 800 people live in the town but I haven’t seen any homes so they must live in the country.
We helped prepare dinner for those that signed up to eat the left over sausages from our BBQ in Westport. It turned into a cook/eat on your own since the hostel kitchen didn’t have enough pans for cook a large quantity. We had half a bag of pasta noodles and a can of sauce so we cut up the sausages and onions into our pasta. It was a great meal since we had a lot of activity ahead of us with the Ice Climb.
After dinner we enjoyed our evening at the Glacier Hot Pools. This was different from the Thermal pools in Rotorua on the North Island as that water was from geothermal activity, but the glacier hot pools was water from the glacier that was then heated to 36, 38 and 40 degrees Celsius in the 3 different pools. The pools were set in the rainforest so it was a neat atmosphere, where the thermal pools in Rotorua were overlooking the lake.
We went to bed by 10:30pm since we had to report to the glacier tour guide shop by 7:45am and Gunter and Rachelle had to be on the Kiwi bus by 7:30am. It worked out well except they didn’t disclose that they BOTH were snorers, Pete got up in the middle of the night to put ear plugs in they were that bad. Oh well it was a discounted room and nice of them to offer us their room.