We left westport, us three hogging the back of the bus again (we have two seats each), and went to Cape Foulwind, where we did an hour long walk by the sea up on the cape, and saw the seal colony there- took my best and cutest seal photos, there were quite a few pups there. We had some ice cream, of course, and got bk on our bus- we saw a Karearea bird fly alongside our bus for a bit, native bird of prey, beautiful. Ive seen them a few times luckily.
We stopped off at Punakaiki for some more walking- here are the famous pancake rocks, layered rocks of limestone and sandstone sticking out into the sea. This was a really nice walk, the whole microclimate around here its very tropical and alot of Jurassic Park was filmed here- it really does look like dinosaurs should be walking round. In some places there were fields of Flax plants, with the misty mountains behind them, so cool I loved it.
We had lunch in a cafe here, brought 6 postcards to send home lol, havent ahd a chance to write them yet though.
We arrived at lake mahinapua at 4ish, and the accommodation was basic, like a shabby motel, and it started to rain when we got there. We went for a walk to the lake- I kept stopping to faff about and take photos of the ancient looking rainforest here, and then when I went to catch up with claire and sarah could find them, and ended up walking down some random, 1hr long track, which was very cool but also freaky. It was the mossiest, most ancient looking rainforest ive seen so far- so wet, with marshes to walk through, and moss hanging down like curtains, a bit like a swomp in some parts. I eventually got bk onto the main path leading bk down to the lake, found claire and sarah, and I went down to the lake for a bit, then we all went to the beach, which had grey/black sand, and we didnt hang about as it was raining still and getting dark.
We went to the bar, had some wine, then had a massive dinner here with our kiwi group, and then went and got dressed up for the party. We got really into our army theme- face paint, body paint, strips of camaflage colour cloth round our arms and wrists, khaki/green three quarter lengths, and our caps with labels on them saying british army. The photos are brill! Oh and of course the massive gun which we all posed with lol. Some people made a really good effort for the party- we had a guy as big ben lol, James from our bus as the phonejacker, his friend Rob who I cant remember if he was dressed up or not, two girls as tescos, a girl as a chav which was brill, a girl as an immigrant, and one guy as the queen which was hilarious! We drank far too much wine and got way too drunk. I ended the night being sick quite a bit, I think ive been put off having wine for a long time now, and the next morning I was just so ill! I threw up again all morning just before we got on the bus, and OMG the way Q drove, I threw up in a bag on the bus lol. Good thing were sat at the back, nobody noticed. It was a good day to be ill though- no activities planned, just driving from there to Franz Josef, the glacier town.
When we got to franz josef we went to the glacial centre to book our glacial hike tommorrow, I was too ill to get off the bus but claire and sarah could book for me, though they wouldnt take the cash I gave them, I had to pay myself, so they said I should come back for 6pm to watch the safety brief DVD and pay then, but I was booked so all was ok.
We checked in- well, I threw up by the bus, in the pouring rain, while claire and sarah checked me in, then we all went to our room, which was fab- we have a four bed, ensuite dorm room with fridge, and its jsut us three in there! Yay! I was so grateful for the ensuite lol. I spent most of the day on the floor in there, but round about 4ish I started to be a bit more with it. I was shaky at best though, I hadnt eaten in almost 24 hours, couldnt even manage water, and I walked across town to get to the glacial centre for 6 to pay, in the pouring rain but I had my Gore tex coat on so it was all good :-)
Unfortunately, when I got there a rather not-so-nice woman who works there had cancelled my place and just given it to someone else! I was so upset, she was like 'yes but its almost 6' and I had been told to be there for 6!! I never thought they could just undo your booking! In the end I booked a crappy half day for tomoz, and was put on standby in case someone cancelled tomoz, which looked likely as it was still raining heavily constantly. I hoped someone would, and planned to come with the group first thing in the morning.
I got bk and told claire and sarah the news, and we all sat about hoping it would all work out. I ate for the first time in a day, and then managed some water, so we went to our hotels restaurant, which is a really nice log building with huge heaters everywhere, it was lush! Our hotel is so nice. They have a resident dog here too, a Hunterway called Tui (after the bird, and Tui beer). I had some soup, claire and sarah had pizza, its so cheap here too! Tui kept us company.
I got up and went to the centre to try and get to do the hike, and I didnt even get across the hotel carpark before some girls told me all the trips were cancelled today. Apparently the stream around the glacier had become a raging river and you cant cross it. I was gutted, and walked bk to tell claire and sarah the news. We all walked to the centre and got a refund, like everyone else from our group, and then we booked a shuttle bus so we could still go up and see the glacier. It rained all day again - our 3rd day of constant rain. I dont mind it though. We walked bk to our hotel to await the shuttle bus, and found a very posh spa with heated rock pools just near our hotel, and we booked a massage there and a pool session. Weve been saying we'd do that for ages, and now we had a whole day it made sense to do it.
We got the shuttle bus up there and did a walk to the glacier lookout point, good views of it. There was a barrierd to stop people walking further as you had to cross two rivers to get there and it was a bit dangerous. Claire and sarah stayed where they were and I climbed over it, I was wearing my gore text coat, shorts, and sandles, so I could just wade through the rivers no problem- extremely cold though, and the water was pretty strong. I got to a point very close to the glacier, took some fab photos, but couldnt go right up to it as the river in front of it was impossible to cross for anyone. There were some very cool waterfalls to see there, not normally there but the heavy rain has helped, and I walked bk through the rivers again, taking some awesome photos as I went. When I got bk to the lookout there wasnt too much time til our shuttle bus would leave, so I ran down the 1 hour walking track through the bush (also a microclimate here, very cool rainforest). I took some amazing photos on the way, pausing and then running, in the end I just missed the bus by ten minutes!! So I walked back to town, only about 5km so didnt take too long. And in the pouring rain I was bone dry thanks to my coat. Got to see the river as it widens, and walk over the bridge- bit freaky as the walkway is some dodgey planks of wood, chicken wire on each side, and they wobble like hell when a car/lorry drives along the bridge. I had the raging river underneath too.
I eventually got back to our hotel, found claire and sarah on the internet, and we all hung out in our dorm for a bit. I came and did my internet while were waiting til we go to have our pre-booked massage session :-)
All in all, we couldnt do the glacial hike, which I was really looking forward to- claires waited to do it for 4 yrs as she didnt do it when she travelled NZ last time, but I might come bk one day, or go glacial hiking on some other travels. And we still saw the glacier- even if we'd been able to go it would have been pouring and misty and we wouldnt have been able to see alot. Have to leave glacial hiking for another time.
Were off now to chill in the spa for a few hours then have dinner again in the restaurant. Feels like we needed some luxury chill time for once on our trip :-)