After having the van fixed we were free to get back on the road.We headed north for a stopover in Wanaka before making our way to Fox Glacier.There wasn't much going on in Wanaka.We stayed in the worst campsite by far but met a very cheery minister from Christchurch.He had married his brother in the church of the good shepherd (the picture on the side of our van) so came to say hello to us.He thought our accents were "very sexy" and that we should split up and use them to attract new partners.We promptly told him we were on our honeymoon and he soon changed his advice and told us to stay together!
The next morning it was totally pouring with rain so we didn't hang around.We resisted puzzling world where the rest of the campervan population seemed to be heading and drove on up to Fox Glacier.
The road was pretty boring and we manage to kill several more birds as they flew in to the front of our campervan.They just can't seem to make it out of the way of the van at 100kmph.It was still really wet when we finally arrived at Fox Glacier.Lots of the helicopter hikes for that day had been cancelled so there were a lot of unhappy campers when we arrived to book our trip.We booked the "Nimble Fox" full day hike for the next day and went in search of a campsite for the night.
As we booked in to our campsite we spotted what looked like a huge bright orange cattle lorry, with windows.As we were debating why a cattle truck would stop in our campsite we realised it said "Rotel tours" on the side.Surely people couldn't sleep in it!?!An hour or so later a matching bright orange Rotel tours bus pulled up.Out jumped a bus load grey-haired German/Dutch tourists.With military precision they all got to work with their jobs of setting up the hotel, checking the lorry and making dinner.They were a bit of a spectacle in the campsite and everyone came round trying to sneak a photo without them knowing.Nobody could quite believe what they were seeing.After dinner they crawled in to their beds, before packing up and leaving without a trace in the morning.A truly bizarre sight!
Luckily the weather the next day was great and we set off on our day hike.Our guide Luke was a bit of an action man.It took about an hour to hike up to the face of the glacier, then we got our crampons on and hit the ice.It felt strange being the middle of summer and being able to walk on ice.Luke decided he didn't want to take us on a well carved path, so took us off the beaten track.He was axing out a path for us, which meant quite a lot of hanging around for us.In the end when he had cut to the top of his path he decided it was too steep and dangerous for us amateur ice-climbers so we had to turn around and go on the well worn track.We climbed further in to the glacier than he had gone with a group before.We thought the highest point we reached looked like kryptonite from Superman, only blue not green.Luke explained the blue colour as being down to the refraction of light through the ice.Blue being the shortest wave length (i think!).We headed back down after this a little disappointed by all the hanging around.It didn't seem as good as Franz Josef as we didn't get to slide down through any ice holes or take a bath in any ice-pools!
After looking at the map and deciding there wasn't much to do on the West coast we thought we would take on the lengthy drive to Abel Tasman National park at the North of the island.