After our eventful n long drive up to Franz Josef we arrived, just in time for a power cut which also meant dinner was pretty sparse! We are staying in a tree lodge which satisfied my desire to be Tarzan n I guess that makes Bex, 'Cheethah'!
Next morning we woke to brilliant sunshine with my body still aching n burnt! Perfect then for the trek up the glacier!
We actually enjoyed the experience n as you can see by the pics the scenery is pretty spectacular. It is the biggest moving glacier in NZ n as well as trekking you can helicopter n ice climb it...we didn't!
The town is small n quiet n shuts down by 10 but we enjoyed some great fish n a nice sunset! There are more tourists here than residents n in winter virtually no one braves it up this far!
We are now heading up the West Coast-only a few towns, some only have 10 people living there! There are only 35,000 people in total on the West Coast yet the land covers a fifth of South Island! In gold rush of late 1800's towns had up to 100,000 people living here n as we stopped we saw some remnants of the bygone age.
The beaches are deserted,wild n desolate as sharks are everywhere n rip currents treacherous a few metres out in the Tasman Sea.
2 hrs into journey n we have seen approximate 3 cars, no people n there are no live radio stations! This is Emptyville n despite the scenery,pretty bleak.
We stayed in Hokitika for the night,great oceanview room, the waves here are massive n it has a reputation for sinking over 100 ships due to the surf.
Next day,we left the car at Greymouth..We (Bex did last 2 days of v windy roads) had driven nearly 75% of the island n glad we did. Much more beautiful n unspoilt than the more commercial North Island n so peaceful.
We took the TransAlpine Express train back to Christchurch. It is one of the top 3 train journeys in the world n was well worth it crossing west to east coast in under 5 hours,231 kms, 737 metres high over the snow capped mountains, 18 tunnels, n through pristine rainforest,n past tranquil lakes as well as a 73 metre high viaduct.
For the final leg of our New Zealand experience it felt fitting to put on my earplugs,turn on my ipod n listen to my Simon n Garfunkel album.
Got a bit into it n didn't realise that I had serenaded the carriage for an hour to warbled efforts of 'The Boxer' n 'Cecilia'!