We started our journey down the west coast the next day with a destination of Westport. we stopped at Lake Rotoiti enroute which is surrounded by snow capped mountains and a beautiful view. We then drove through Buller Gorge and along Buller river. Here we opted to get dropped off and do the jet boating. We were kitted up in our waterproofs, hats, scarves and glasses (this was entertaining itself). When we were getting into the boat the driver nominated me and Louise to go in the front seat. Everyone seemed to be packed in tightly but we had plenty of space which might not actually be a good thing. The boat was pulled along by a tractor to the river then we had almost an hour to get to our starting point. The cruise up the river was scenic and we were told about the colour of the water changing because of the rainfall. We were shown the true colour of the river in a part that runs off from it, it was so clear that you could see the bottom. It was strange too because you could see a distinct line where the water chagned colour. We turned around at this point and the fun began. The basic aim was for the driver to go fast enough to soak us and almost throw us out. He wpuld change direction and spin almost 360 degrees practically tipping the boat on to its side. It was so funny being flung around so much with Louise crashing into the side and me crashing into the driver. It was pretty the way that the water sprayed up to crate rainbows in the sun. It was a very funny 20 minutes then just to make sure that we were wet at the end the driver slammed on his break causing the boat to tip forward and a huge wave came crashing over. We were absolutely drenched. That night our hostel had a lovely log fire which we made good use of to dry and warm up.
Lake Manhinapau was the next destination for us along the West Coast. To get ther we drove along the Tasman coastline. We stopped a few times throughout the journey as the views were lovely. We also stopped in Greymouth to find our costumes for that nights fancy dress party with a theme of the letter P. With limited resources I was to transform into a piggy (not hard to imagine I know) and Lou was to become Pocahontas. The hostel we stopped at was literally in the mmiddle of nowhere and ran by Les who was 80 something. Potentially older than you Grandad!! We roomed with Beck and Lara from Germany and we became good friends with them over the next few days. They went dressed as banana in pyjamas. We had a big feast first cooked by our driver Pete (although everytime new people came on the bus he would introduce himself using a different name, we found it funny but others didn't quite get his sense of humour) and Les. The 4 of us got all dressed up in our costumes and went off to eat. Lara and Beck just had to go find someone they were borrowing a banana from so we waited outside for them. On their travels they discovered that no one else was yet dressed in costume. How silly did we feel. So we made a quick dash back to the room to get changed before we were spotted by too many people. We walked into the 'castle' where we were eating and everyone was still in normal clothes, that was close. Although everyone was enjoying the food that much we dont think that anyone would have even looked up and noticed. The meal was amazing! Steak, jacket potato, venison stew, pasta, veg and corn on the cob. And the best part was that we were given seconds. It was all soo good. It turns out that it was a good job we did get changed as I dropped my dinner all down me! We still managed to be first to the bar waiting for eveyone else (as per usual). The cosumes were all good, the winning costume was Pasta!
Our next days adventure took us to Franz Josef where we would do our glacier climb. It was another nice hostel with a free hot tub for us to use. We were up early to do our hike as we had lunch to prepare and socks to buy! Although we were given socks to wear with our boots from my experiences at Welford I knew one pair would not be enough for me. We got kitted up in waterproofs again, and were then told to take it off it was too warm for them. So we had to carry them, a bit of a pain. Why couldn't they tell us this before we put it all on though? We had to take a 10min bus ride then a short trek through a wooded area to get to the glacier. Here we split into 2 groups: fast and slow. We opted for slow after being worn out at just the walk though the wood. We had to walk about 2 miles over the stonned area to get to the actual base of the glacier. They were right about the weater, we did this in t-shirts which seemed very stange. The groups were then split again down to 11 and our guide was to be Phil. The first part of the glacier is acyually all covered in rock and it took quite a while to follow the windy path upto to the top where the uncovered ice was. Here we had to put our spikes on our boots (I think they were called clampons) and start layering up. Then we were realy! All the groups took the same route and we used steps which the guides carved out for us. It was quite tricky to start but we soon got the hang of it. It was really surreal walking on ice and being surrounded by it, especially in the smaller spaces where it almost trapped you in. I didn't like not having anything to hold on to at times either and had visions of me or Louise going head over heels. We had to do one part where there was a series of steep steps and for these the guide put a rope in for us to use. The best parts were when we went through holes and gaps. It was a great opportunity to pose for a few pics. One hole was particulary funny as it was so small. i opted to lay on my back and shuffle under feet first and Lou decided to go for a bit of an army crawl through to the other side. We did provede entertainment for anyone who could see. Our guide particularly thought so and decided to take the piss out of us for most of the day. When we stopped for lunch it seemed weird too, just having a picnic on a glacier. Although it did remind me of the many times that mum and dad have made me have a picnic in a freezing carpark or cricket ground over the years. We also had bum bags (Martina you would have loved it). We found these to be a great way to store food, its there when you want it, no hassles. For some reason it was funny when I started to eat my banana, easily entertained yep. We also got to play with the big axe used for making the steps although we weren't trusted with it for long. Whilst on the glacier we also had a visit from a bird, a Kea. Louise wasn't too keen on the visitor which was funny to everyone but her as it walked closer and closer in her direction. The higest point that we reached was 480m, not a bad effort. Your legs knew that they had been at it all day too. It was a great experience, even if I did nearly fall at the end. Thats what happens when you don't look where your walking on ice. I didn't see the step! Opps.