Day 10: Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown

Trip Start Aug 04, 2012
Trip End Aug 20, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Today, I woke up at 5:40 and had breakfast at 6:15. Then we got on the bus at 7 and had a short drive to Fox Glacier for our heli-hike. Our hike was from about 8am until noon. We rode in a helicopter up to the glacier, and then when we got out, they had us put on crampons and use walking sticks for a hike up the glacier.

This was my first time riding in a helicopter, and it was really cool. It's just too bad that I didn't get a window seat on the way up or on the way back down. It was so louuuuud, though! During the hike, we got to walk through crevices of the glacier that were ridiculously blue. We also got a bunch of group photos, and Hamon decided to get naked on the glacier. Ewww.

During our Contiki tour, whenever someone said the word "mine," they would have to do ten push-ups. Everyone kept tricking Pat into saying it during the hike, and he ended up doing 80 push-ups just during the four hours on the glacier. One time, he put his backpack down so he could do his push-ups, and someone picked it up and asked "Whose backpack is this?" and he ended up having to do ten more immediately. He's definitely the easiest one to trick into saying it.

Our guide also took a bunch of group photos for us, using everyone's cameras. Most people had on winter coats and hats and stuff for the hike, but I was perfectly fine with a t-shirt and a hoodie. It was actually pretty warm when we were moving around. Our guide (Jono) gave us little souvenir certificates at the end of the hike, which was really nice. This was one of the most expensive optionals (at $384 NZD), but it was definitely worth every penny.

When we got back from our hike, we had sandwiches waiting for us (that we ordered earlier). We didn't have time to eat them, so we ate on the bus. I sat with Jenn and mocked her for pronouncing "out" the Canadian way. She sooooo loves me. We also stopped at a cafe-type of place on the way.

When we got to the hotel in Queenstown, we found out that our (Kay-Marie's, Jessie's, and my) room wasn't ready because the people before us hadn't checked out yet. So, they upgraded us to an amazing room with a view of the mountains, while most of the other Contiki people could just see reception and stuff from their windows. Scooore! It was especially nice since we got to stay here for three nights.

Before dinner, we all got together for a few group pictures. Then dinner tonight was the optional ($75 NZD) Skyline dinner. Jessie wasn't planning to go, but Mark, Chris, and I really wanted her to, so we had Bridget add her to the list anyway and we paid for her and forced her to go. Well, at least I know I paid, but I never got change back from Mark, sooooo. <.<

We got to ride up to the restaurant on a gondola, and then we could see all of Queenstown lit up below us. I rode in the gondola with Jessie, Kay-Marie, and Georgie (whom I had just met). All three of them were freeeeaking out, and Georgie was clinging to my arm immediately after introducing herself. Apparently they thought a gondola was a boat, like the ones in Venice. Kay-Marie said she was going to have to live at the restaurant because she never wanted to get back on the gondola to come back down, haha.

The restaurant was an all-you-can-eat buffet, and the dessert table alone made it WELL worth it. I mostly just ate a ton of ravioli and cheese and crackers, and then I filled up on dessert. The chocolate mousse was awesome. They also had hokey pokey ice cream here, but I didn't really like it. After dinner, a few of us (Jessie, Jenn, Crystal, and I?) took a taxi back to the hotel, and we were in bed before 11. It was nice actually getting enough to eat for once!
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