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Published: October 28th 2010
Sunday 24th October.
Sunday was a big driving day as we wanted to cover a large chunk of the West Coast to get down to Franz Josef and Fox Glacier.It is labour weekend this weekend so the Police are out in force to prevent driving offences. There is a population of just 1 million on the South Island and about 600 thousand of them must be police. Despite the Top Gear-esque coastal ralleigh roads, Dave had to drive like a 90 year old Sunday driver because there were police on every corner. The plan was to cling to the western coastal road and stop off for lunch at Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blow holes. Unfortunately, the navigator wasn't on form and we ended up on an inland road which re-joined the coast about 60km south of Punakaiki. Oops!.
We arrived at Franz Josef to find that everywhere was booked up for the long weekend and the few places remaining were charging at least 5 times what we'd paid for our mystery hotel ( I have to keep putting in references to the mystery hotel cos it was such a bargain and I say "didn't I do well" at least
3 times a day). Consequently, we hopped back in the car and headed directly to Fox Glacier where we booked a heli-hike for the following day (weather permitting). Both pretty tired and in need of a good night's sleep so we had a quick bite to eat and headed to bed....in what turned out to be the world's noisiest hotel. Thank heavens for ear plugs!
Monday 25th October:
Up early to face belting rain and a cancelled helicoptor flight. As a result, we booked the 8 hour ice-trekking tour.We climbed 800 steps up through a rainforest, stopping to fill water bottles with glacier water. After a short break to fit crampons, we ventured onto the ice. Amazing views and a pretty unique experience. We crawled through tiny moulins and explored quite deep into the blue ice valleys cut into the glacier. However, if I'm completely honest, 2 or 3 hours would have done me (I'm not good when I'm tired and ginger Jono, our guide, was a bit boring and patronizing). Super Dave, adrenaline junkie, however, was like a mountain goat leaping across the ice with ease. Dave could have stayed up there for another 12 hours, apart from
having to deal with my miserable face which had clearly had enough of life on a glacier.
Back in the car to head to Wanaka. This drive was amazing. The route heads through the Haast pass before hugging the shoreline of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. We arrived in Wanaka and have to admit it is THE most beautiful place we've ever seen. We booked a hotel looking out over the lake then went out for the biggest portion of bbq ribs ever! Also did a quick bit of laundry to get rid of the Rotorua eggy smell.
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