Ice Ice Baby
17.01.2011 - 18.01.2011 22 °C
I didn't fully appreciate we were sleeping in a tin can until it rained for 12 hours straight. And then on and off for the next 36 hours until we left. We postponed going to the glacier on the first day in the hope that it would clear up - so we sent some postcards, did some laundry and Noush went slowly stir crazy. We went to pay for our next day adventure to the glacier as part of the deal was entry into the hot pools and we wanted to do it while we had nothing but time. And I cooked some lovely gurnard with a sort of egg fried rice and salad with flowers in it. The camp site had large planters outside the kitchen area full of leafy vegetables and herbs - how cool is that?
Monday morning we got a five minute glimpse into where we were.
We headed into the village to meet our tour group and get kitted out. I think Noush found the clothing like an all over version of bowling alley shoes and wasn't particularly impressed. Not that she complained. Not at all.
We were bundled into a bus through the front of which I could actually see the road and driven to the start of the glacier walk. Anyone can walk to the foot of the glacier but only organised tours can go on to the ice itself. And why wouldn't you want to spend hours freezing on a perilous ice ledge on your summer holiday?
It was a pretty impressive experience in the end and I am quite partial to a crampon now. We also got to see a Kea - a green NZ parrot - at the plateau which is quite rare so that added to the thrill. Noush got to be an A Level geography student again and point out various terrains to me and pretend she was an explorer for a few hours. Special mention goes to Cliff our guide, who kept proudly reminding us that he gets paid to have fun. He also told me that his daughter went on the ice at 11 weeks of age and now goes on with woolen mittens over her gumboots for grip. She's 3 by the way.
We had a plan to get to Wanaka before the impending cyclonic pattern hit glacier country - they were expecting 400mm of rain on Weds. So we grabbed a coffee, jumped in Erk and headed south again. After our recent weather problems you can imagine how blown away we were by turning a corner to be faced by Mount Aspiring National Park and Lake Wanaka - glistening in the sun at 7.45pm. Truly one of the most mindblowing views of my life. Lake Wanaka is about 50kms long if that gives you some indication of what we were seeing.
We arrived in Wanaka last night and were told it had been 30 degrees that day. It's raining today but still pretty stunning and it's a great little town. We're about to head off to Cinema Paradiso to watch The Ghost Writer and they serve warm cookies at intermission - now that's my kind of cinema. And we're up to date. Queenstown tomorrow and then heading towards Fiordland and Milford Sound where I am praying for clear skies so we can see it in all it's splendour. I'll let you know.