From Nelson I made my way to Queenstown via Greymouth and Franz Joseph and Wanaka. I was only in Greymouth for one night, Franz for two and Wanaka for three. It was a great journey through the west coast of the south island and we got to experience our fair share of the infamous western coast rainfall!
Greymouth didn't have a huge amount going for it. It was mainly a stop because the driver couldn't go all the way to Franz in a day. Thankfully the Monteiths brewery was there so a fair chunk of the bus went on a tour of that. When I say tour, there wasn't any beer being made there at the time as most flavours are now brewed somewhere else so they only operate part of the year. But the bar and sampling area was definitely up and running! We tried all 6 flavours of beer (Radler was the winner) and a cider. Then headed on out for dinner and more beer! Twas a good night and a good way to meet some more people from the bus.
The next day it was straight down to the village of Franz Joseph, home of the infamous Franz Joseph glacier. Took a while to get there so once I'd been for a run it was time to head out for a couple of beers and get an earlyish night ready for my ice climb in the morning. Unfortunately the weather put a stop to the climb, the rain would have made it horrid for the people belaying. I ended up going on a glacier hike instead. The hike was really good fun, we got to walk through ice caves and some amazing ice formations. Funnily enough it did get pretty cold but we were constantly walking and on the ice for about 5 hours so it was definitely a decent amount of time!
Then it was off to the beautiful Wanaka! It's a small town based at the end of the massive Lake Wanaka which is about 50k's long. It was on this bus journey that the big earthquake hit Chch. As I was on the bus I didn't feel it but it was all over the news by the time I'd settled into the hostel and people in Wanaka were saying they'd felt it. Very horrible stuff! I met up with Clem for a couple of drinks which was cool, think he was still getting used to being back in NZ! I had a few days here so went for walks or runs around the lake. Also went to puzzling world which has a room completely built on an angle as well as a huge maze that took half an hour to get in and out! There's an amazing cinema there as well, it only seats about 40-50 people but all of the seats are sofas except for the Morris Minor that you can also sit in! Then at the interval they've freshly baked homemade cookies for you to munch on - heaven!