So from the beautiful beaches of Kaiteriteri we set off to Westport and then to Manipua (the poo pub) for St Patricks day! Westport wasn't really much to shout about but we saw some great places along the way.
We crossed the ring of fire- a strip of land which is right on a tectonic fault line. Entire mountains created from shifting tectonic plates; a pretty cool sight. Then to Cape Foulwind walkway where you can see a beautiful coastal view in both directions. To Punakaika- Pancake rocks and blowholes, made entirely by nature forming layer upon layer of rock which funnily enough as you can probably guess look like stacks of pancakes haha!
Like I said before, there wasn't much to do in Westport except relax. We chilled in the sun, cooked a roast dinner (thanks Pete) and watched a DVD. The next day we were back on the bus on our way to Manipua and the Poo pub, famous on the Kiwi Experience! It was St Patricks day and so fancy dress theme was "Green" or "Irish". The four of us- Pete, James, Sean and me got boxes, wrapped them in green paper and went as the Kiwi bus... I thought we looked awesome but only good enough to come second to girls dressed as a bush! Definitely fixed haha!
Before the party we walked to the lake, went swimming; well I went swimming: it wasn't clear like the water of Kaiteriteri and more like a murky brown. Not really suprised no one else jumped in after me. After that we got back to the pub and had a great dinner of Steak, potato, veg and pasta bake; included in the accomodation. All full up the drinking started along with the fancy dress.. It was a really good night, everyone got dressed up and getting involved we got to know everyone else on the bus. Fancy dress always works making a good night even better!
The next day we set off from Manipua heading for the glacier of Franz Josef. Along the way we found a 'museum' where we could grab something to eat. It was a weird place, noone could quite believe it was a legitimate stop on the bus! It was a museum about hunting; it had films of deer getting shot and videos of the old way in which they used to catch them: Men jumping out of helicopters to land on the deer below. Crazy people and surely there was a better way to catch game! All in all it was a pretty poor excuse of a museum, the highlight was Sean jumping out of his skin at the sight of a possum tail haha.. Anyway onward to Franz Josef!
Franz Josef was great. A small town at the base of a glacier we pulled up mid afternoon, checked into a good hostel- probably the best one so far called the Rainforest Retreat. Some friends were already there so it was wicked to have a catch up with them. That afternoon we sat in the hot tub, played pool and had a few drinks while watching the formula 1. Not too bad!
The next day was another one of those awesome experiences! The Franz Josef glacier hike. I paid to do the full day walk which would take me pretty high up on the ice. Again it was another great day weather wise, sunshine and a bright blue sky; my god I have been lucky with this weather!
We started early getting our gear from the base shop; Hats, gloves, Jacket, Boots, spikes, trousers- everything was provided for. We caught a bus to the bottom of the glacier and walked to the start point. Here we split up into groups of different speeds. My group was "fast" as I wanted to get as high up as possible on the ice and really explore this glacier! It really was awesome! Lower down the ice was quite dirty from rock slides and dust from the mountains but as you ascended the ice was a clear blue/green.. I was loving it at the back of the group with Sean taking photos at every opportunity. We had lunch on the ice, filled our water bottles with the ice cold glacial water and walked as high as we were able. Again another wicked day in this utterly amazing country.
After all the gear was returned we walked to the spa. The vouchers to use the hot springs were included in the price and it was great to chill in the hot water and let our feet and muscles relax after a hard days hike. A really really good day.
We got back to the hostel and as it was our last night in Franz Josef we were going to go out again for a few drinks. Before we did though Sean fell asleep on the sofa near the kitchen..I literally think he can fall asleep anywhere!! I took the opportunity to draw on his face haha! A mustache, a monobrow and bright pink lipstick! So funny when he woke up because he had no idea and kept asking why people were looking at him and wondered why his lips felt so strange haha! Absolute Legend!
With some more great memories we were leaving the following morning heading to Wanaka and after that Queenstown!! Can't wait.
Until Next time.Nathan