Well Day 9 saw us drive 330kms to Fox Glacier – it was winding road and I was tired to I tried to sleep in the back while Lynsey drove – not successful at all! I was imagining all sorts of things re crashing, or falling off the corner on those tight bends so I gave up and got in the front of the bus. Its boring sitting in the passenger seat all day, but the scenery continues to amaze me. You will be driving through a rain forest one minute, then round a bend and a beach with waves is staring at you. Crazy how it changes so quickly!
We got stopped half way through the drive, as there had been a downpour of rain all night and most of the day, and a bridge was flooded so no-one could get through. We stopped at a little cafe/pub in the middle of nowhere and had a sleep for a few hours, hoping they would open the road up again soon. They did, so we continued onto the Glacier Country. We got to Fox Glacier at about 7.30pm, and found that the one street which made up the town didn’t contain much other than a few restaurants and a petrol station. Petrol was $1.87/L here, so dont complain about it being $1.40 back home!!
We parked the van near a lake for the night and proceeded to have the worst night yet! We had a mozzie infestation in the van, it was horrible. My idea of hell! We were eating dinner and all of a sudden were surrounded by mozzies. I hate the damn things, so I jumped in the van thinking I’d be safe. But by the time we closed all the doors and began to assess the situation, we were surrounded. I’m not exaggerating when I say that we killed about 50 mozzies. We didn’t have any insect spray so they met their death by a fist – attached to a very angry and annoyed Aussie or Scot! My hand was sore after the first 20 or so, and the next day there were little mozzie bodies squashed all over the roof of the van. Unpleasant to say the least. We woke up at least twice during that night, to find another ten or so flying around – I have no idea where they were getting in, or how, but I hated them. I bought some insect spray the very next morning so I can (hopefully) sleep in peace! I did clean off all the bodies, and actually counted 62 – no joke – it was disgusting, but the insect spray worked the following night and I had a wonderful sleep!
Day 10 was meant to be another adrenaline day for me. A skydive. Its been a good 7 years since I last jumped, and I finally get to do it again. With some of the best scenery in the world. However, as I wanted to do it for the scenery, it was postponed until the following day when the weather was meant to be clearer. So I drove to Franz Josef Glacier. Lynsey was doing a Glacier walk on Fox Glacier so I thought I’d explore around a bit and have some me time. I picked up a Russian hitchhiker on the way to Franz, he was interesting – I’ve never met a Russian traveller before so we had a bit of a chat – until he found out what I do back home and promptly went silent on me – I got him talking again, but when we got to Franz he jumped out of the car pretty quick – very interesting! I had a look around, then found a lake on the map I decided to sunbake near. On the way to the lake I picked up two English hitchhikers, these boys seemed a bit more fun and were heading to AU after NZ so we exchanged email addresses and will hope to catch up when I get home.
We did out skydives on Thursday morning. Lynsey said thad I was no fun because I dont get scared – I dont know if that is what the instructors think as well, but it was a good dive. Cold – not just because of the altitude but because we were in close proximity to Mt Cook and the Glaciers – awesome photos! I didn’t think Lynsey would jump – but she did – after a fair bit of coaxing. And when she landed she happily stated that she would do it again!! Another convert. I’m thinking I might have to do the course to jump solo – save some money and get more of a kick out of it!
Thursday (Day 11) afternoon we drove back to Queenstown and on the way stopped at a town called Wanaka. I found my NZ town! I loved it. Not sure why – maybe because its right on one of the brilliant blue lakes, with mountains for a backdrop and not yet the commercial feel to it that Queenstown has – but it was still pretty busy with tourists. And the main pub is amazing – two sides of the pub are all glass – to make the most of the view – and I found another beer I like – that is two beers I’ll drink here (and when I say drink, I mean enjoy it and not have to screw my nose up like when i’ve previously tasted beer back home!). They are very fruity and really nice. Yes, I know. I never thought I’d like any beer either, but I do now! I was totally taken with the area, and if I was ever going to buy a house in NZ it would be in Wanaka. I even bought a glass from the pub as a momento – of the place (it said Wanaka on the glass) and of the beer!!!
I had to have a shower in Wanaka, and I was quite pleased that we seem to have this down to a fine art now. You walk in the gates (which are always open) with your bag and towel over your shoulder like you have just been to the lake for a swim. Making sure you walk in fairly confidently, whilst glancing around everywhere for the shower block. I have to admit, you get good at picking where it will be, and once you’ve had a shower (the best ones are the ones you dont have to put money in to get the water going – yes, its small things that amuse me at times) you walk out like you are leaving the site to go meet someone or such. Neither of us has been stopped yet. We have a bit of a giggle about it though.
Thursday night was another party night in Queenstown, then we drove to the Peel Forest again (where we originally went River Rafting) because Lynsey wanted to go again (and we’re heading back to Christchurch for Bon Jovi on Sunday). It was my turn to drive, and I clocked up 390kms. Long day driving. The scenery wasn’t so spectacular as we were basically driving north through the middle of the island – but we still got some surprises. You would be driving through brown rolling hills and turn the corner and come upon another huge, brilliant torquoise coloured lake – and when I say huge, these lakes are massive – I cant get over how big they are. And the colours are truely brilliant blues – the colours are apparently from the rock flour from the rocks and glaciers being ground together and the sediment floating to the surface reflecting the colours in the sky (or something to that effect). The size and colour of these lakes is hard to describe, they are that amazing.
Anyway, we got to the forest before it was too late, and met the local shop/bar girl (who used to live in Melbourne) and had a drink to celebrate Australia Day Eve – so happy Australia Day to you all, and you’ll hear from me after the Bon Jovi concert!!!