April 12, 2011
Where to begin?
We have done so much in the last week since I wrote I don't even know where to begin! Franz Josef was beautiful. We woke up bright and early and headed over to where we were going to start our hike. They took us by bus to the start of the hike where we trecked through the rainforest for a few minutes before coming out into a wide open valley. Then there it was, the Franz Josef Glacier! It looked really close, but our guide told us we were still about 45 minutes away from the face of the glacier. So on we went in our massive hiking boots, with our many layers of clothes packed away ready to get on the ice. Just before we got to the ice we learned how to put on our crampons - the ice picks that you wear on the bottom of your boots to grip the ice. Once those were on, off we went for our full day hike onto the glacier. It was challenging, but amazing. We slipped through tiny crevaces, climbed up steps that were made moments before by our guide, and climbed up using ropes and some more handmade steps. It was absolutely beautiful. The views from the top, the hues of blue in the ice, and the relief my legs felt once we finally made it back on the bus made the whole day worthwhile. To top off a great day we got free entry to the glacier hot pools to relax our tired legs before bed. The next morning we were up and off again. Next stop, Wanaka. Our first day in Wanaka we relaxed in the morning and spent the afternoon at a place called Puzzling World. Our entry included the Illusions Room and an outdoor maze. The illusions room had everything from hollograms to rooms that tricked your eye into thinking some faces were following you. There was even a room that from far away looked like a normal room, but once you were inside of it you realised that there were two very different sides, one making even me look like a giant! the other side making me look even smaller than I really am! The next day stands out as one of the best days of this trip so far, and thats skydiving! We booked it in the morning and had a few hours to think about what we were going to be doing that afternoon. It was the best experience I have ever had. Freefalling at 120mph then opening the parachute and there was absolute silence to admire the mountains covered in snow, the lakes, and the clear blue skies. There are no words to explain this experience, so I will just leave it at that! The next day we decided to hire bikes from our hostel and hit the trail. Neither of us have ever done a real mountain biking trail. It was both challenging and rewarding. There were times when we got frustrated because we were pushing the bikes up the mountain, and sometimes in my case, pushing them down. Despite that, the feeling of making it to the top of a steep hill while remaining ON the bike was a great feeling of accomplishment. 5 hours later I was very happy to see the car, but on the bike ride we saw some more amazing views. New Zealand has yet to disappoint. There is always some beautiful lake, mountain or sea to see! After we slept soundly that night, we spent our last full day in Wanaka at the cinema. This is no ordinary movie theater, this was an experience. You go into the cafe to get your ticket, then walk through these doors to the one theater room. It is filled with big comfy couches, some movie theater seats in the back, and even a car! We opted for the middle of the middle, a nice soft couch. There is an intermission which opens the doors of the theater to the smell of fresh out of the oven cookies. We got chocolate chip and they were divine. As was the homemade ice cream - I had cinnamon honey and luke had Bailey's white chocolate, Yum! Now we are in Queenstown deciding what to do for the week! Sorry no photos, more to come at some point.