|With the tiniest bit of a lie- in we left Mahinapua for Franz Joseph, the home of NZ's glaciers. On the way we stopped off at a bushman centre where we watched a video about deer hunting/culling in NZ, and then a pig, some possums and most importantly a full English breakfast. We voted for the best dressed at the part - the portaloo and the puppet won prizes. We arrived in Franz about lunch time and went to see the beginning of the glacier and paid for the glacier walk we were doing the next day. Rushing back to the hostel to get checked in and picked up for my skydive over the glaciers. Unfortunately it was too windy and too cloudy in the jump zone so I was going to have to wait till sunday to do it. I was really disappointed. Instead we got in the hot-tub that wasn't quite so hot. After an hour or so we were frozen and getting out was even worse. The sun was shining but it gets really cold in the wind and late evening. I am still determined to wear shorts as much as possible, despite any cold weather. After some food we watched a couple of movies in the evening
19th Franz Joseph Glacier
Today was the full day Franz Joseph Glacier walk . We got to the centre where we checked in, got kitted up with boots, coats, hats etc etc. and was driven to the start where we split into groups in terms of ability. I went into the first, best group, most of Team Doom (from the Tongariro Crossing) was there, although this wasn't going to be nearly as hard as the crossing. We walked a bit on rocks then put our crampons on before going on the snow. Climbing up the ready made steps we scaled the glacier. It is amazing how much this glacier moves with tunnels/caves opening up in days. One part of the glaciers moves 3-4 metres a day. After the pre-made route we were next free-climbing, going where our guide chose. He looked and sounded a bit like Eric Idle. It was very stop-start on the ice, which was quite frustrating. Nonetheless it was a beautiful clear day which is quite lucky considering it rains about 252 days a year in Franz. It is also quite amazing that it is one of the only a couple glaciers that are by a rain forest. We stopped for lunch and there is something really satisfying about eating self-made sandwiches after doing a walk. After this we made our way further up and eventually across the glacier, through huge walls of ice with our pick axes. We eventually made out way back down, a long process because of clearing the path. We got back about 4/5 where I jumped straight into cooking a meail then later the bar for my supposed last night ever...
... before I skydive.