After Hokitika, we drove to Franz Josef Township, home of the Franz Josef Glacier (which I visited on Stray):
All the backpackers in the entire town were booked up, so we stayed in nice lodge rooms at the Rainforest Resort. Since it was my last night with Jacob for a while, we stayed in, visited the hot tub and watched trash movies on the room’s tv. Very fancy!
The next morning we all went to the town of Fox Glacier and Jacob hitched a ride back to the trail. Blair and Suzanne did a heli-hike on Fox and I hiked 2 trails, 1 went to a great vista and the other went as close as you could get to the glacier without a guide.
I attempted to forward my packages, which are following me around the country now, but the Hokitika port shop refused to forward them on without a particular form…and Fox Glacier Township doesn’t have forms since they’re an *agent* for the post…fun!
When we left Fox, we followed hwy 6 along the coast and then inland to some amazing rivers where we saw dramatic ocean views, waterfalls, a ridiculously huge zipline (locked off).
Also, the highlight of the drive was Haast Pass, a scary curvy incline drive with sweeping views of mountains and “fuzz covered” hills (dry bush that gave it a fur-like effect).
Arriving in Wanaka, we got to our hostel after dark, so we couldn’t see the lake views. In the morning, I took a run along the water and when we checked out, I finally went to the post shop to do my errands. Our visa extension applications are sent and my packages will now be in Christchurch when I get there.
Leaving Wanaka, we drove to Arrowtown, an old gold rush town. My guide book made it sound lame, but it was actually really cute. Yes, it’s lame-ish in that there are reproductions of the old gold mining buildings, but cool in that it’s a quaint town with tree-lined streets and when the tourists go home, it becomes Main Street, New Zealand.
We decided to bail on staying in Queenstown and stay in Arrowtown instead. Blair and Suzanne were going on a day cruise in Doubtful Sound and Arrowtown is only 7 km farther from it than Queenstown.
The place we found to stay was a really cute motel where we had 2 bedrooms, a living room, and kitchenette. The back door opened onto a yard and we got all the amenities – towels, shampoos, soaps, and a tv with Sky TV (it’s like HBO). Wee!
The girls left in the morning and I went for a 4k run (sweet!) along a little river, then I took the Connectabus to Queenstown.
I checked in to the Deco Backpackers, which is anything but Deco. It’s pretty decent – scoring high on my checklist:
- comfy mattress?
- door that locks?
- seemingly clean sheets/duvet?
- nice staff?
- bonus – hostel pet?
One of my dorm-mates is a very sweet Alaskan named Sarah, who has been in the South Pole for the last 6 months. We went to lunch together (Fergburger, of course) and then I headed off to the bus to go to the “mall”.
Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but my laptop’s power adapter went “pop”, so I haven’t been able to recharge it. I took the bus to the Dick Smith’s Electronics where they said they had a power adapter for me. A 45 minute bus ride later, I find out that it doesn’t fit my laptop…I start looking online, calling around – nobody has it! Mom’s going to send me a new one to Christchurch! Thanks, Mom!
In the meantime, I get back to the hostel and whine to Sarah. She offers me her laptop to use and on a lark we try her power cord – it worked!! So at least for tonight and tomorrow, I have power! Charge like the wind, MSI Wind!
Needing some dinner and fresh air, I went to the main street, Shotover, lookign for food and an activity. It was raining, so I ducked into a movie theater, 5 minutes to the next showing of Slumdog Millionaire, so I got a falafel and went to see the movie.
Wow. Beautiful, sad, uplifting. A must-see.
Speaking of movies, this trip heralds in the beginning of a new start for me: I had never gone to a movie alone before! Starting with the Counterfeiters, and now Slumdog. I’m pretty excited about this new habit.