After a quick stopover in Greymouth, I found myself in beautiful Franz Josef with a teaming rainstorm. The hostel was well equipped with a great selection of VHS movies to keep many soaked backpackers occupied.
Once I had walked around the town in between rainstorms I was even more excited to get to the glacier. The next morning I was up early to beat the tour rush and grabbed the first shuttle up to the glacier. The hour walk through the bush was beautiful to open up to a flat land between mountains with the glacier at the far end. Another 45 minutes brought me to the edge of the glacier which was simply breath taking. After I got my fill of this view, I made my way back to the carpark to head out on a few other tracks that ventured through the woods in the surrounding area; most of which have various lookout points of the glacier.
After 5 hours of hiking, I was ready to make my way back into town. I finally was able to do the most stereotypical thing and watch Lord of The Rings in New Zealand...I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I am now in Wanaka which is a town that is described as "a less commercialized Queenstown" and I LOVE it. I took a hike around the lake, and sat on the waters edge staring at the mountains for hours. I am off to Queenstown this afternoon and hoping to fit in the Milford Sound in the next couple of days.
I've come to the realization that New Zealand doesn't have any dangerous animals because the climate is too unpredictable for anything to adapt to. The hiking/tramping has been great because I don't have to be afraid of any lizards, spiders, or the most poisonous, miniscule insects attacking me ( yay Australia!) but they are very lax about their safety measures taken on the paths and the weather forecasts are always a guess. *Don't worry Nan, someone always knows where I'm hiking.
The Milford Sound is said to be the "8th Wonder of the World" so I'm very excited to check it out!