Glacier Country

After a glorious night of sleep we woke up to the tail end of the storm. We quickly packed up our things and made our breakfast in fear of another storm rolling in. Luckily one did not. We were now on our way to glacier country, home of the popular Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.

When we finally figured out how to get to Franz Josef (just follow 6 towards Queenstown and make a left at the sign… no need to book a tour or stop in the expensive cafes in town) we popped out in full rain gear to make our walk out. It had begun to sprinkle again but nothing we couldn’t handle.

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The scenery here is beautiful and utterly massive. To know that you are walking through a valley that is actively being shaped by a receding glacier is something awesome. The rocks that are dropped are jagged and new and the river walls are smooth and grooved. It is sad to see it go melting though, in the next 5 years chances are the glacier will be a much longer hike. There are pictures to show the difference from 2007 to 2012 and it is astonishing how far it has moved.

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About halfway through the hour and a half walk the rain decided to pick up. We thought it would be no big deal because of our fancy rain jackets and water resistant pants and boots. Eventually my pants (North Face if you’re listening, fix this! Or send me free stuff. Thanks.) got soaked around the zip off part that lets them become shorts. Once this seal is broken the results are downhill and fast. Within minutes there was icy cold water running down my legs into my waterproof boots. As you can imagine, not a good combo. Tracey fared a little better but buy the time we made it to the viewpoint we were drenched. To warm ourselves up we decided to just run back to the front which worked out pretty well.

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Next we drove to the Fox glacier viewpoint rather than attempt the hike again as it started to rain right as we got there.

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Sweaty soup shoes don’t go ever to well with your wife (or frankly me) after a couple of hours of stewing. Never air out your feet on a car heater unless you are in danger of getting gangrene! Eck!

We pushed on in the car and grabbed a quick lunch at a little burger joint while charging up our phones only to find that service really hadn’t existed for the entire days drive. Our next goal was to get to Wanaka. When we finally arrived we headed to a full service campground so we could finally shower in some hot water and enjoy a real kitchen. We made a Shepherd’s pie and some vege mix for dinner and assembled the campercar in the dark. After getting to bed, I woke to realize that my sleeping bag temperature rating was an absolute lie and was freezing. Breathing hurt and it felt like no amount of blankets would do justice!

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Next stop, Queenstown! Wish us luck in finding jobs quickly and painlessly while we have the luxury of modern accommodation!

By Alex

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