Drive to Franz Josef Glacier

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 31, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Friday, October 26, 2012

We packed our stuff and had breakfast at our accommodation this morning. Apparently since we missed breakfast yesterday due to leaving to go kayaking, the owner thought we never checked in or were missing and called the travel agent to make sure we were ok. The problem was breakfast started at 8 and we had to be at kayaking for 8:30 and the drive took 20 minutes so there was no way we would have made both. I still don't understand how a place that is all about healthy living has breakfast that starts at 8, I would have thought they would encourage people to be up with the bird and getting on with their day. Oh well. We were on the road after eating on our way to the Franz Josef Glacier which is about 6.5 hours away from Kaiteriteri. The morning started out sunny and the drive was very scenic winding through the mountains down to the west coast. From there we drove south along the coast to Punakaiki where we stopped for lunch and to see the pancake rocks and blowholes. This is part of the coast line that was formed by thin limestone layers that have been stacked on top of each other and with the erosion looks like stacks of pancakes. The erosion also cut holes in the rock where the swells from the ocean come crashing in and the water gets shot our vertically resembling a whale's blowhole. Unfortunately we were there at low tide so it wasn't as spectacular as at high tide when the water gets shot over 100' in the air but it was still pretty good. After that we drove to Greymouth and stopped for groceries. We then concluded our drive to Franz Josef. Through the afternoon the clouds rolled in and it started to rain limiting what we could see. Apparently on a clear day the views are amazing driving in to Franz Josef but today we could only imagine what it looked like amongst the clouds. We checked in to out hotel and the headed off to go see the glacier. By this point it was pouring with rain but the positive thing about that was that there was no one at the glacier and by no one I mean we had the glacier all to ourselves. We did the 2k hike up to the barriers stopping to take pictures along the way. Being further south means we get more daylight now where the sun was down by 6:30 in Cairns, it is still light at 8:30 here. Hiking the glacier this evening means we can get on the road early tomorrow and start at the Fox glacier instead. After the hike we headed back to the town and went for supper at one of the bars in town. There was a big rugby game on so the place was packed but we still got a table. I had the whitebait which was like a fish omelet but apparently a very kiwi dish. Gina had lamb pizza. The food was excellent and the beer really good. The beer in New Zealand is definitely much better than the beer in Australia. After the rugby game they played old music videos which was good for a laugh.

More driving tomorrow down to Lake Wanaka with stops on the way.
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frostyrunner on

Keep the blogs coming. We are enjoying them so much.
Philip playing for Suncor in the Suncor Syncrude game.
Becky still away but back next week too we hear.
Everything else all the same. No great news!!
Enjoy your last few days of adventure

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