Cliffs, Sounds & Glaciers
Trip Start Nov 01, 2010
47Trip End Nov 01, 2011
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Te Anau 8.9.11
After the mayhem of Queenstown, it was time for a chilled out few days further south in Te Anau. It was a 2.5 hour journey, passing the Remarkables mountain range, the giant lake, crazy mental roads with scary cliff drops, whilst a tornado was basically throwing us all over the road. The views continued to amaze us but I was relieved when we arrived at our next TOP10 campsite in the tiny village of Te Anau, in the new province of Southland, the gateway to the Fiorland National Park. We ended up booking 2 nights here, as we'd be returning late’ish from Milford the following day.
On arrival we dandered along the lake/fiord and then dodged into the local cinema to watch a short movie on Milford Sound, our intended destination the following day, a boat trip we had booked as part of our package
Once we got through the mountain tunnel, exiting the other side, sleet and rain continued to fall heavily and wondered how enjoyable this boat trip would be out on Milford Sound. On arrival, snow had disappeared with our decent, but still lashed it down and it was FREEZING
Back At Te Anau – First day of the Rugby World Cup 9.9.11
We landed back to Te Anau about 730pm pretty busted from the trip, opted for fish n’ chips from a lake side van, then got changed to head out for a few drinks to watch the opening to the Rugby World Cup game, NZ v Tonga
National Lampoons Drive to Franz Josef Glacier 10.9.11
We ducked out of Te Anau at about 10am on our 'Google mapped 6 hour drive’ for the day, re-fuelled after seeing a sign, ‘next shop 120kms’ WTF lol and headed North for Franz Josef Glacier which appeared to be on the west coast and a tricky little spot amongst the mental "Sothern Alps" mountain range we flew in over
Oh and the single lane amateur bridges, we crossed at least 40 of them, where nobody seemed to understand the right away signs. Other signs we spotted were AVALANCHE warnings, debris which might blow in from SEA – seriously WTF is this about. We couldn’t wait to say goodbye to the Heart Failure Mountain Range! We even noticed a road named Perseverance Road, that says it all really. Eventually a very tired Brian and Caoimhe, who shared the drive, arrived at Franz Josef Top10 campsite at 10pm, 12 hours LONG, Lord give me strength. We needed a hug. We needed to talk to Frank actually
Franz Frickin Josef
630…beep beep beep. I wanted to throw my phone out the van window. We looked out, lashing down it was, if I seen rain like that whilst at Uni, I’d simply close the curtains and turnover in my bed and set my alarm for Neighbours. We actually said to each other, I doubt this trip will go on with that rain, lets go back to sleep. No, lets not have driven into outer space for nothing. Headed for the Glacier guides office in town. I was first person there, girl looked at our voucher and announced (whilst pointing at a picture of what looked like Sylvester Stallone holding a pick axe climbing a 180 degree vertical wall with ropes) ‘the ice climbing trip will not be on due to the heavy rainfall’ – Ice Climbing WAA? Were we signed up to climb up ice walls ? Jesus fckin Christ, god must have been looked down on us when he sent that rain!! Haha. Instead of the Olympic ice climbing trip, she kindly placed us on the half glacier walk, that’l do pig, that’l do
The glacier was only 1 of 3 in the world that met the rainforest. 1 of which in Argentina, the other was down the road from us, fox glacier – another place we passed through in the darkness the night before.
We suited up in the guides office, fit for the Antarctic, which really isn’t that far away. Waterproofs, caveman socks and boots, and a yank bum bag for our spikes. Bussed it up to the Glacier and commenced the hike after being split into 2 groups. The rain continued to pour, but didn’t take away anything from the hike, we were indeed Superdry. The guide, a kiwi, led us all up the glacier, with his pick axe, clearing new pathways and ice stairs. Then all of a sudden out of nowhere, whilst we were having a break, this maniac comes slipping and sliding over the brow of an ice hill of a the glacier in what only could be described as tennis shoes, wearing no socks haha and he was smiling like a Cheshire cat. What a legend, simply ignoring the danger signs and fair chance of frostbite and skull fractures haha – our guide chased him off, felt sorry for him, some balls to make it this far. We needed a rope and spikes.
The walk was fairly intense but well worth it, some great caves, slopes and crevasses. I will never say these words again in the same sentence.
Arrived back, exhausted but ready for the heated outdoor pools down the road in the village. A great way to relax afterwards, where we met most of our fellow ice companions, most of which were snap happy Asians walking around in their Y-fronts as if to say, how cool do I look? The hot pool vouchers were given to us courtesy of the half day walk, and then also refunded the difference of our full day top priced $300 ice climb, not wise. After dipping into the 36, 38 and 40 degree pools, we were toasting and cooled off in the showers, and said cherio to the fcked up Maori Drag queen manageress/manager.
Back to the campervan, (gypsy talk) and changed into new threads for the Rugby game in the pub, Ireland v USA, not a great spectacle, but a win for the green nonetheless. A few beers, and then it was good night Irene.
The next day was a non stop drive in the direction of Picton (Google map 6 hours – pay no attention to this) where we plan to get the ferry to the North Island saying goodbye to the South
Opted to go out for dinner for the 1st time, served basically a pile of muck and felt ill after, cooking from now on I’d say.
Onwards to the 4 hour ferry to the North Island, for the Sky Dive, Maori Village experience and Waitamo Glow-worm caves, and Auckland for Ireland V Australia game. NZ flying in and action packed, 2 weeks lying out on Fijian beaches will be welcomed after this blast of NZ.
Update on Wally – he has had his 2nd visit to the mechanics now, constipated/pipes blocked on 1st visit – Now he has had a new battery, battery charger and fuse replaced, as we have now driven over 2,500kms on top of the 280,000kms already on the clock. He is flying now!