Franz Joseph and Queenstown
Franz Joseph | Day 10
Franz Joseph is known for its beautiful glacier which I'm sure is very cool. However, to get to the glacier you have to take a helicopter making the trip a couple hundred dollars. You can walk to a lookout point but that isn't close to the glacier since the end is so unstable (you can't walk onto it because its unsafe). Knowing all the fun things I wanted to do in Queenstown, I decided I would save some dollas and pass on the glacier heli hike. Instead I slept in (yayayayaya!!!!), did laundry and wandered around the town. I ended up at the South Island Wildlife Centre which had great kiwi and glacier exhibits. There are five kinds of kiwi birds and all of them are endangered! The centre is working on helping grow the population and had three baby Rowi chicks on display. The kiwis are nocturnal birds so you had to go into a very dark room (only a couple red lights were on and absolutely no pictures allowed) and be super quiet. After a bunch of loud tourists left disappointed that they didnt' see anything, I sat down and waited. Soon enough I heard the snuffling and rustling of little baby kiwis! They were so cute and walked right in front of the glass where I was sitting- such odd looking birds with their thick legs, round bodies and long noses/beaks.
In the afternoon, I headed out for a hike to the Callery Gorge. We stopped at a little waterfall to take pictures, stack rocks and soak our feet in the icy cold water. When we got to the gorge the water was a beautiful milky blue- could not get over the color.
That night was all you can eat pizza night- love me some pizza!! We also got our drink on at the bar at the hostel- so convenient.
Lake Matheson and Queenstown | Day 11
Yet another early morning so we could get leave before the Kiwi Experience bus (aka douche central- so many tank tops). This meant we got Lake Matheson all to ourselves and it was gorgeous.
Afterwards we had a long drive to Queenstown- hard to complain about long drives when the views are this beautiful.
We were almost to Queenstown when we did a slight detour to the Kawarau river so that Anna could bungee (and yes I spell it bungee not bungy like they do). As we were driving up I knew that I had to do it- Kawarau bridge is the world's first bungee site. It would be a beautiful jump with the gorgeous water below plus it wan't THAT high at 'only' 47 meters. We got checked in and quickly signed the forms (as usual I decided not to read the portion that explained what could happen to you) and then we headed to the bridge to wait...and wait...and wait. It took for-ever. Plenty of time to watch others scream bloody murder as they jumped and for me to start sweating uncontrollably from fear. It was at that point that I also started nervously talking- just talk talk talking until Anna looks at me and told me to shut up. Anna went and her jump was hilarious...lots of screaming and hand flailing. Then it was my turn. The jump masters are very smart in that they do everything very quickly so you don't have a lot of time to think. My jump master asked me if I wanted to touch the water so I agreed but told her I didn't want my head going in. She told me that if I actually jumped I would get my hands in the water but if I just fell 'like a sack of potatoes' my head would go in...considering I just did my hair (blow dryers are hard to find in hostels), I decided I would have to go for it. They had me look at the camera and smile- actually I looked at the camera and very clearly said 'fuck' (which is why I didn't buy the video)- and then they did the countdown 3, 2, 1 jump! And I did...
So. Much. Fun!!!!!! I loved it! As soon as my fingertips touched the water, I was laughing and loving every minute. Riding that crazy adrenaline high, we drove to Queenstown and checked into our new hostel (great location) then headed out for dinner. Kate, Anna and I ate dinner along the water at the TYC bar before sitting on the beach to watch the sunset.
Perfect first night in my new favorite city! Two more days in Queenstown to go.