Harriet's OE Journal travel blog

In the Bushmans Centre

A hot spring


Amazing blue glacier


On the glacier

More stunning view

On the way to Franz Josef we stopped at The Bushman's Centre. It was basically a place where you can go around the museum and watch a film about how NZ used to be over run with deer and people used to get jobs jumping out of helicopters on top of them up mountains to catch them, cause if they did they were worth a few thousand dollars each to put them into farming. Then there were random things on the walls read and photos and antlers etc stuck on the walls, possums in big cages, eels in a small indoor river, goats, a pig and a wallaby out the back and whistling frogs. And then a shop, a cafe where we had a cooked breakfast and deer and goats in an enclosure outside.

After that experience we stopped to do a walk to see some hot (warm) springs along Wanganui Valley because Spud made us and then we finally arrived at Franz Josef where some of the group left us to go do a sky dive. We checked into the Rainforest Retreat which had a hot pool, bar and restaurant.

After settling in a few of us went paintballing down the road which had the most awesome course ever, it was basically the rainforest with loads of places to hide and trees to climb over. I've never been paintballing before and I'd definitely do it again, although it does hurt quite a bit, especially when hit at close range!

The next day I had my helicopter flight over Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier. I should have gone the previous day because it was sunny and not many clouds, as the day I went was overcast, but I still had a really good time. I was in the helicopter with 4 other passengers and the pilot. We all got to wear the headphones so we could hear the pilot talk to us and tell us where we were etc. The views were just jaw dropping, the ice was actually blue! We went so high up so my ears went and the helicopter was a lot smoother than I thought it would be. We then made a snow landing and the snow was so thick it reached my knees. I couldn't believe how high up we were, again fantastic views. On the flight back to town we also saw a waterfall and it was amazing how quickly the land went from snow glacier, to rainforest, back to dry land.

That evening a group of us took advantage of the hot pool next to the bar. This hot pool was a bit too hot but it was so cold in the hostel it was nice to get into a really big hot bath and warm up a bit. At least it was the last night in the ridiculous beds we had - pretty much all the beds had 2 mattresses on each, so getting into bed was a bit like lying in a hammock with both head and feet raised up and not being able to move much. Ridiculous.

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