Day 189 and after a night of constant rain we left the lake area at 7am for fear of being fined and headed for the info centre car park. Burns did the driving while the rest of us were in bed, as he is the only one who seems able to get up when the alarm goes off, not 15 mins later. After a couple more hours sleep we headed for the camp sites and planned to pikey a shower. The first place we went into apparently shut Luke down big time and had a go at him slating Freedom Camping. The second place we parked we didn’t ask to use the showers and just sneaked in and used them. After the showers we went to the Tartare Tunnel, which took about 30 mins to walk to. The tunnel itself was about 500 metres long, dark and very wet. Coops gave up after about 10 metres as her feet were to cold in the water, but the rest of us soldiered on in the freezing water. The tunnel was built to divert water round a massive cliff. After the walk we drove back to the info centre and had lunch and lazed about for a bit. Laura made everyone laugh with her awful spelling of 'Ulcers' with an 'O' and Nugget with one 'g'. I blogged after lunch and didn’t realise how cold it was till back in the camper where Coops Luke and Helen were tucked up under a douvet, drinking tea, playing scrabble. How sad and boring our time in the Camper has come to! I then joined in the game. After buying dinner from the one and only shop for miles we drove to the same lake as the night before and cooked dinner, Pasta and sauce, an old Uni classic. It was freezing, and the battery was pretty flat so we went to bed early, especially as we had our Glacier walk at 8am in the morning.
Day 190 and surprise surprise we woke up and it was literally freezing. I had to put socks and trousers on in bed it was so cold. At the info centre by 8ish, we got ready with our layers of clothing, sandwiches and assortment of chocolate based snacks and headed for the tour centre. We would be hiking over the Franz Josef Glacier for between 6-8 hours, and luckily for us the weather was awesome. The tour provided hats, gloves, jackets, trousers and boots for the walk which was good value for money really. By 930 we were walking along the river at the base of the glacier, and soon we were hot! And I had taken my gloves and jacket off. I have previously done a Glacier walk in Iceland when on a school trip, but I knew this one would be different as this was the steepest Glacier in the world. Our guide was called Rob and was from Taunton which is where Burns now lives. He even knew where Cotford St Lukes is. With a name like that it sounds like a tiny village. Rob told us some history about the glacier, such as it takes 50 years for the ice to work its way from the top to the bottom (6-7km). They knew this as a plane crashed at the top in the 40's and it came to the bottom in the 90's. Also the length of our glacier walk would be about 10-12 km. We had to wear crampons on the bottom of our boots cause of the ice and it felt like ice skates. The guides have to cut steps in the ice as each group walks about the ice (our group was 11 people). Rob was pretty sound and good to banter with. Luke posed with a giant rock at one point for a photo, then Rob pointed out it was used as a toilet stop. I then used the rock as a toilet stop, instead of posing for a photo with it. Lunch was taken about 12 where we all had our squashed sandwiches and crisps. Helen fell over at one point trying to get the crisps from me, very funny. The hike got harder with some steep climbs and huge cracks to walk through. At the highest point on the walk we were about 450 metres above sea level and had climbed about 400 metres in total. The walk back down was much quicker. My feet had almost inevitably got blisters from the boots, as had Helen. Coops was often mentioning how much she was looking forward to a hot shower. Luke had his vest on during this part of the walk and Laura had 4 layers, a massive jacket, mittens and a hat. By 5 we were back on the bus and headed back to the town centre. I managed to keep my hat as it was very good at keeping me warm, and Helen managed to take her mittens. Everyone was pretty shattered after the days walking and we all went to a hotel and used their showers for free again. I checked the net for the football scores, Liverpool lost to Chelsea 3-1. This ruined my day. The only comfort is I'm on the other side of the world where all my Chelsea supporting mates can’t remind me of it. By 6 we left Franz Josef and headed south towards the Fox Glacier. About 10 minutes into the drive we pulled into a layby for the night and parked up and a massive slope, but we couldn’t be bothered to move. Dinner was Fajitas which as always went down a treat. Bedtime was about 8-9pm but expected after a massive hike.
Day 191 and to be expected we didn’t rush to get out of bed. Apart from Helen that is who was up about 7am and decided she couldn’t sleep so she would talk to me. I however was tired and did my best ignore her until she left me alone. By 11ish we drove to Lake Matheson which is just outside the town of Fox. It was very busy (the weather was very good so ideal for photos) and we did the 90 minute walk round the lake. I took lots of photos of the mountains and the lake in the background, as did the others. After the walk we had lunch, but not from the cafe which was hideously expensive ($7.50 for a sausage roll! although it was an absolute monster). After lunch we got some petrol and prepared for the 4 hour drive south to Wanaka. On the way we stopped at a lookout. All to say about it was there were loads of sandflys, Burns reversed too far and cracked a brake light, and we were all hungry. I decided we should listen to Helens Ipod on the drive as it’s always mine or Lukes we seem to use. Burns and I were loving Helens choice of music. She has lots of 80's (things like Cher, Elton John and Bonnie Tyler) but she also has some other good current music. Burns was especially loving Elton John and was singing along merrily whilst driving. After driving along Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea we stopped and bought some drinks and then parked up in a good old gravel pit for the night. No sooner had we parked the locals I presume started beeping us as they went past. I guess Wanaka, like lots of other towns around NZ don’t like Freedom Campers! Dinner was Pasta and Bacon. There was 1kg of pasta so we didn’t finish it. The battery was full after all the driving so we could chat for a while after dinner and read in bed before the lights went out (without forgetting how friggin cold it was!).
Day 192 and my feet were so cold I think it woke me up. For brek I had pasta and tea, a normal combination. Luke drove us 30 mins to Wanaka and after going the wrong way twice we found The Puzzle World. It was early which was good as it wasn't very busy. The whole place consisted of a giant maze, several illusion rooms and a cafe which had lots of games and puzzles lying about on tables. We did the maze first. The challenge was to get to the four corners of the maze, then to the exit. The harder challenge was to do the corners in a certain order (Yellow, Green, Blue, and Red). We started out in a group looking for the Yellow corner but we all soon split up (the girls acting as a 2). I soon realised that the reason Yellow was first was cause you had to go up and over some bridges and to the other side of the maze to get there. Luke was first to the Yellow one; I was soon after him, though it did take a while. Meanwhile Burns was going to any corner he could find, and the girls were running around like headless chickens. Laura even cheated by rolling under the maze walls! (Burns was witness to this). After finding Yellow, Green was next and this proved quite tricky. I got lucky cause I stumbled upon the green corner quite quickly. Luke was perplexed! Burns was just not having the luck, and actually getting quite frustrated, and the girls had finally found yellow. After yellow I managed to get to Blue quite quickly to, whilst seeing Luke sat in the red corner. It was funny when standing on the bridge cause you could see people going round and round in circles. There were some small kids running around shouting "Arghh!! I've just been here, I'm never going to get out of here!". After finding blue I found Red quickly and shouted to let everyone know about it. The hard part was finding the exit. By now everyone had found all the corners in some sort of order and just wanted to get out. We all met up on the bridge and started running like kids. The girls went one way and Luke Rich and I went the other. We ended up doing laps of the same area for ages before we found our way out. The girls had somehow got there in no time. Perhaps they had cheated again, who knows.
The toilets were even made to be puzzling. There was a roman style toilet with a mural of people in a roman bathroom. It was painted in a style which made it look like a picture and if you stood by it, the illusion was that you became part of the picture. The Illusion rooms were awesome. The first one was holograms, then came the hall of famous faces. Lots of inward moulds of faces were all over the room and if you closed one eye and moved around the room it looked like all the faces were following you. The next room was the Ames Illusion which are visual again, and are to do with perspective. The Ames Room had a sloping ceiling and floor which made people standing at either end look massive or tiny. The final room was the sloping room where the floor was at a sharp angle so to get into the room you had to walk up it. Laura, Helen and Burns even felt ill/sick cause of the motion and the slant of the room. After this we sat in the cafe with some food and drink, whilst having a go at several puzzles. They were infuriating at times, but when solved, quite satisfying. Luke had 2 sarnies and a chocolate slice, while Burns only had a pie and a sausage roll. By now the whole centre was very busy so we left and headed for town. After a big shop in New World for several days over Easter, we parked in a campsite. During the afternoon Burns and I trekked 3km to another campsite to see if we could watch footy there the following morning. We got there and found they didn’t have the right channel so we walked back another 3km. Dinner was Baked Potato and beans which was a nice change, although whilst making it I made a school boy error and poured a tin of chopped tomatoes into pot instead of another can of beans. After we got over this drama we headed out for a few beers at Shooters bar in town. We were up past 9pm which was a nice change to! The conversation often focused on the fact that not 1, but 2 people had been sick in the bloke’s urinal. Burns said that when he was in there 2 bouncers were cleaning it with buckets saying the chunks were too big to flush away. By 1130 Luke looked like he was sleeping, and soon after him and the girls headed back. Burns and I stayed and managed to watch the first half of the footy which was good. Liverpool won 4-0 in the end, but Man Utd won as well which was annoying.