2/20 Friday Day 9 – Cold But Not Thirsty. With an open day to start exploring Queenstown and nothing but rain our options were a little limited. We rode up the huge gondola where I might have gone bungee jumping if not for the river boarding. We also went to a place called the Minus 5 Bar. Basically you pay NZ$30 to stand in a room of ice and drink one alcoholic or two non-alcoholic drinks. Awesome?
2/21 Saturday Day 10 – Turning a Corner. Here is where we start getting into my favorite part of the trip. We took a ride on one of the last coal fired steamboats about the lake near queenstown then hit the road for the west coast, which if you are planing a trip to New Zealand I would say is where you want to be. We were tempted to stop every few miles by a waterfall or some footpath over a bridge into fern gulley. It was pretty magical. We ate dinner in Haast. A place with three options on the menu, taxadermy on the walls and a string of music videos on starting with Twisted Sister "We're Not Gonna Take It." We spent the night in the Campervan (the only night with all four of us) in the town near the base of Fox Glacier.
2/22 Sunday Day 11 – Glacial Tramping and 10,000 Waterfalls. This was my favorite day of the trip. I booked an excursion with a group that does glacier tours and spent 4 hours on the ice. One of the more surreal experiences of my life. It was pouring rain. The Franz Josef glacier (just up the road from Fox) is one the fastest moving in the world at about a meter a day and it's pushing right down into the middle of a rain forest, so in addition to the ice time, I spent about 2 hours tramping the the forest, fording streams created by all the rain. Also thanks to the rain, the glacier has been wiped clean of slush so it was clear and smooth, and the there were hundreds of waterfalls where on a typical day there are only a few.
After I got back we took the campervan of to Greymouth, apparently the known as "The Gateway to the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand." More amazing waterfalls on the way. Once we got there we went out the ocean where miles of quivering foam had washed up.We staked out a room at a campground where Adam was summarily dumped by his New Zealand girlfriend via text message. We went out to drown our sorrows at the only place open, McDonalds.
2/23 Monday Day 12 – Pancake Rocked. We continued out journey back to Wellington stopping off at the famous, beautiful and apparently mysterious pancake rocks. We continued to Nelson, one of the bigger citties on the South Island. Feed tried to get us to eat at a liquer store before he realized what it was, but that's about all Nelson had to offer by way of excitement. We rolled in to Picton in time to catch a late night ferry back to Wellington. Sensing suckers, the guys sitting near us on the boat offered to deal us into their card game, but we played Carcassonne instead.
2/24-26 Days 13-15 – Welling-town. Despite Adam's best efforts we ended up with a few days to kill in Wellington and decompress, which was nice. We hit up Weta, the place where adam works making 3D models for Peter Jackson. We saw Botanical Gardens including a tree you could literarlly sit on top of. We did zip lines in two different parks. I did quite a bit of shopping at the favorable exchange rates. And we ended it all with our flight home, landing 2 hours after we left.
Knocking back a cold one at the Minus 5 Bar.
Waterfalls at the base of the Glacier
One the beach at Greymouth, near the quivering foam.
Adam and Tom sitting on top of a tree in the Wellington botanical gardens.
Feed opting not to sit on top of a tree.