Kicking and screaming didn’t get me any more time in Queenstown, so we had to leave. We drove through the Southern Alps, stopping only at my insistence in Wanaka to see Puzzle World, which can only be explained by pictures. As you see, the outside was buildings and silly photo ops. We didn’t pay the $US25pp to get in, if you can believe it, to see the tricky stuff inside…It basically taught me that you can open up pretty much anything in a touristy town and somebody will pay to go to it. Pretty. Much. Anything.
We made our way through Mount Aspiring National Forest, and I realized that while I thought that I had had a pretty out-doorsy trip, it was headed to a whole new level. We stopped and climbed down the “Gates of Haast”, a crazy waterfall that was deafening and incredible. Here is where something interesting happened. We never found out why, but from here on down the south island, the water took this turquoise hue. It looked like Hypnotiq. (Mom, that’s the stuff I left in the freezer.)
You would think with this amazing water feature named as the gates to your town, you’d live in a cool town, so MK and I were planning the whole time on eating lunch there. Wrong. We were very, very wrong. It was the smallest town on our trip, and we drove through some small places. There were maybe 10 houses and a walk up place where we got a sandwich. Boo. They should change the name of the “Gates of Haast”, to, I don’t know, “Gates of Don’t Stop in the Next Town” or something.
We saw some huge huge deer, I think they were moose, who knows. It was funny to see them all fenced up, I’ve actually never seen that here, although I’m sure they must be somewhere. When deer were introduced in NZ they ate too much wild stuff, so they are all under control for us to eat now. There are a lot of things that were introduced in NZ that haven’t done too well, or have really messed things up, especially for the poor kiwis.
We went out to the Fox Glacier first. We hiked all the way up to it but then MK got scared because there was a rope. Pfft. Then we drove to the Franz Josef Glacier, maybe an hour away. We saw a kea.
Let me explain this a little: a kea is a very rare mountain bird. It is a giant African Parrot. It is something we had been looking for on all our hikes and walks and excursions. Guess where we saw it? In a tree? In the woods? Building a nest? Hiding in some underbrush?
In the parking lot. On a car.
I guess you have to take what you can get.
This time I got MK to jump over the ‘only for expert climbers’ rope and we got up close and personal with the glacier. It was definitely a moment to remember. They had signs posted as to where the glacier had been years and years ago, it was remarkable to see the changes that have occurred.
We went back to the town we were staying at by Fox Glacier, and had a big dinner and some drinks. It was a great day, despite it being mostly outside and active…