Long time no speak again! We have completely left the north island now and are getting pretty far south in the south! About 3/4 of the way down the west coast, in fact.
We caught the interisland ferry from Wellington to Picton nice and early on Saturday morning. It took about 3 hours in total and was a pretty awesome ferry to someone who has not been on many! I didn't even realise we were on it at first, it was huge and had proper rooms and chairs! Even the seasoned traveller can be suitably impressed by the simple things :p we ate too much food, watched a random dance show for kids and looked out at some cool scenery like mountains in the distance and such.
As soon as we got into Picton, which was basically just a little harbour town, we got straight on the bus to head for Nelson. We mainly used Nelson to have a little rest and attempt not to spend too much money! The hostel was pretty weird, with everything up a nice big ladder! Some of the beds in our dorm were up a huge ladder, as was the internet room which included one computer which just about worked. Free brekkie and soup though so couldn't complain too much! We ended up going to the cinema in the bad weather and watching Robin Hood, good film!
After spending 2 nights in Nelson, we headed to Greymouth yesterday morning. On the way we got to see some pretty cool stuff, we went right down the 'rugged west coast' which has some awesome scenery- mountains, beaches, beautiful clear rivers. We stopped off at Cape Foulwind, home to some very cute looking fur seals and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, some pretty cool rock formations caused by various forms of erosion (yes mum, I know very basic geography!)
Greymouth was another one-night stopover, not a lot going on there but the hostel was pretty awesome. It was nice and warm and had animal themed rooms, as the hostel was called 'Noah's Ark'. We were put quite appropriately into the monkey room! We also got a chance to be very girly and watch Twilight, always good. It's been quite a filmy few days!
Today we headed to Franz Joseph, home of the Franz Joseph glacier. We had an awesome afternoon going glacier walking! We got all kitted out in waterproofs, huge heavy walking boots and were given crampons, the big spikes for the bottom of your boots, then we set off! We had a bit of a walk to get to the glacier, it looked so close to us on the path but we were told that the huge mountains and the huge glacier throws off your sense of scale and it was actually 2.5km away! Once we got to the glacier, we donned our crampons and after a bit of a climb up we were on it! Walking on ice is a very weird feeling, mostly in that it doesn't feel as weird as you expect it to! I was expecting to go sliding all over the place, but it obviously didn't happen due to the big spikes! We walked for about 2 hours, seeing some really cool stuff like an ice cave and we even had something which felt like a mini earthquake when some ice on the glacier collapsed whilst we were walking towards it. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience, and well worth it! We are all exhausted now though, due to a pretty long day on the bus and a good bit of walking. Tomorrow we're headed to Queenstown, home of the adventure sports, and we will see this awesome 'mirror lake' in the pic above on the way! Hope it's a nice day!