Tuesday, March 25
Good thing we saw it yesterday as we woke up socked in by clouds. We spent a lazy morning then walked to town to check out the options. Basically we could walk UP to the glacier for $75 or walk up to it and abseil INTO it for $100. OR we could shuttle to the fox glacier and walk on it for $200. Seems like a lot of money to walk on ice. I can strap on my snowshoes and walk on the lake at home for free 🙂 I know it’s not the same but….a day of doing nothing is kind of appealing on such a rainy day after being busy for the last couple of months.
So we walked a bit, hung around a lot, updated the blog, edited photos, talked on skype and then….the clouds dissipated and the sun came out. Shortly after 5 pm we walked back to the helicopter place but he said no, there’s still a big cloud on the landing site on the glacier. Bummed we left and ran into Simon who suggested we try another place. THEY were flying so we handed over credit cards, did the safety spiel and walked to the helipad. Up we went. What a GREAT ride! It was the fastest 20 minutes of my life but it was worth it. I got to jump on top of the Franz Joseph glacier! The snow was like spring snow; heavy, wet and grainy. Sue tried to make a snow angel but it was too hard. Lots of fun and a great way to end an otherwise pretty boring day 🙂 .To top it off some of us purchased tickets to an all you can eat pizza dinner which was pretty darn awesome. Some then entered a limbo contest. I don’t know howrat they could do that after gorging on pizza so I just waddled back to my room and managed to connect with home on skype.
The temperature was supposed to reach 20 so I dressed in shorts despite it being maybe 3 degrees in the early morning. As we drove south the sun rose higher to give us a crackin’ day. We stopped at Lake Matheson where 5 of us opted to walk the 4.5 km around the lake. Our reward was some spectacular views of Mt Cook and beautiful reflections in the glass like surface of the lake along a pretty path lined with giant ferns, palms and very tall trees often covered in moss.
After another stop at a view point at the place where the road was finished when north met south we continued through winding roads past gorgeous scenery.
We stopped for views of Lake Wanaka and the town for lunch and carried on a little inland through Otago region. It’s much drier there which is strange being such a short distance from the wettest part of the country. After a top at a bra fence we drove through to Queenstown, adventure capital of New Zealand.