To Down Under and Back Over travel blog

Sophy & Green Lipped Mussles!

Paul & the Red Bus converted into an internet cafe!

At start of 40min walk ot Glacier!

Glacial Waterfall

Oh Dear! What have we let ourselves in for?

Almost there! Ready to climb?!

Spikes on Paul!

Spikes on Sophy!

Ready to kill Paul!

Clearing the ice stairs for our path down!

View on way down from Glacier!

Ice Cave Sophy

Ice Cave Paul

Lake Hawea

.....Up early on our first day (6th Jan) and went to get the Campervan, our "home" for the next week! Then we set off for the supermarket to stock up on groceries and headed off to Franz Josef Glacier (about 6 hours away) which was on the western coast. After some initial getting used to the van, we set off via such places as Sheffield (!!!), Athurs Pass (stunning...snow topped mountains and stunning lakes), Greymouth and then headed south towards Franz Josef passing through Hokitika and a small gold mining town called Ross before getting to our campsite at 7pm. A nice van cooked meal by Sophy and then goodbye kitchen table and chairs and hello bed!! The bed was suprisingly comfortable, great nights sleep and the following day we couldn't get on the Glacier, so we booked a trip for the next morning. Spent the day chilling having a nice lunch (green lipped mussels!) and went to a cool red bus converted into an internet cafe! The Franz Josef Glacier is one of three glaciers in the world where glaciers and rainforest live happily side by side, it's quite a feat.....(the others are it's neighbour Fox Glacier and another glacier in Argentina ). Franz Josef village was very small but very charming and had that alpine feel to it that Sophy likes about her skiing trips. We met at the Alpine Adventure Centre at 8.30am and was kitted up with boots, spikes and waterproofs. After a short bus journey and about a 40 minute walk in some stunning scenery, we were at the foot of the glacier. In front and above us was a Glacier around 10km in length. The shear volume of snow (around 50m per year!) gets pushed down through the valley creating this phenomenal glacier. We started our climb and there were guides aready on the glacier making our lives easier by clearing the way with spades and pickaxes. It was pretty easy to climb up the huge ice face and we were on the ice for about 2 hours, so we had plenty of time to have a look at the stunning views all around us, the contrast of the forest and the whiteness of the ice. Just as we got off the glacier and started our way back, the weather turned for the worse and we were glad to get back to base, some people had just started their half day climb and were getting drenched by the downpour!! Ha ha! After getting changed, we started our drive to Queenstown where we had booked some White Water Rafting and a Bungy Jump!! The drive to Queenstown took around 5 hours and we passed some stunning scenery, which was going to be a constant fact during our time in the south island.... We passed many lookouts and Lake Hawea. We arrived at our campsite and had the delightful duties of the toilet emptying and headed into Queenstown for some cheesecake dessert. Queenstown was a lot nicer than we had imagined, real touristy feel to it and of course very driven by it's extreme sports companies.....adrenalin rush stuff to follow!!......

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