|Kaikoura is a small one road town in the foothills of the Kaikoura Ranges which virtually reach down to the Pacific coast. The big draw here was the marine life; dolphins, migrating whales and sea lions. I'm afraid I got a bit sceptical. Having tried to go dolphin watching in Port Stephens, Australia and not seeing anything, I decided not to go whale watching.... big mistake. The people who did go on the trip saw quite a few whales and the pctures were fantastic, whale tails with the snow capped mountains in the background :o( Never mind, I'll try and get some of the pictures.
Crossing the Canterbury Plains and crossing the Southern Alps via Arthur's Pass (more impressive scenery) to the western side of the South Island, we stopped at Hokitika. Apart from lunch and lots of shops selling jade jewellery, not sure what the attraction was.
Weather took a turn for the worse as we reached the Visitor's Centre at Franz Josef (near the glacier). It was raining very heavily, so heavily that there was no point wearing boots, flip flops were the best option. The clouds were so low that we couldn't get any photos or take a flight over the glacier... did get a reasonable cup of tea though!
Arriving at Fox Glacier was still raining and it continued all night..... no chance of taking a heli-hike. This was the lazy option of taking a helicopter onto the glacier and then walking though ice caves and seeing clean snow. The other option was to hike through the rain and hail to the terminal face of the glacier to see the dirty snow and some cravasses. It must have been the rain and hail that put me off, didn't fancy catching the 'flu so I had a lie in and a hot breakfast at a cafe called Neve. Missed out of some good photo opportunities but I didn't catch a cold like some of the others!