Upon leaving Christchurch, we embarked on a four hour train ride through the New Zealand countryside — so beautiful!! After the train, we drove for two hours on the “wrong” side of the road in the pouring rain before we arrived in our next destination — Franz Josef –which is on the western side of the south island. Franz Josef is known for several glaciers that are perched right above the town.
There are tons of activities to keep you busy in Franz Josef. On our first day, we rode a helicopter up to the top of the glacier, visited the wildlife center where they breed kiwis to release into the wild and hiked up the mountain to the bottom of the glacier where it feeds the river. It was a great day!
I also feel compelled to mention another important “discovery” about New Zealand. At the end of the day, we ended up at a casual bar/grill for dinner — which was definitely a “guys” establishment –geared toward attracting male clientele with big screens showing a variety of sports matches broadcast from all over the world. And, as if the live testosterone displays were not enough, there were several posters displayed around the place, instructing how a “manly” man should behave. All of this would have been fine except, for the fact that when we sat down, I noticed the background music was….and no, I’m not making this up — Engelbert Humperdinck (now, let’s not focus on how I know that…that is not the point!) For a minute, I was taken aback and thought, maybe this bar is more Village People Macho Man than Marlboro man….but, then I remembered, earlier in the day, when we were in the grocery store and were treated to Michael Jackson’s greatest hits, or later, when we were in the helicopter tour office where, (based on the young hipster employees), I thought we might hear the latest Jay-Z, Coldplay or even Justin Timberlake offering. But no! We were treated to “Elvira” by the Oakridge Boys, circa 1981! I haven’t heard this many 80s hits since my junior prom but, I love it!
…So, based on my extensive research, if you love 70s and 80s music, friendly people and stunningly beautiful scenery then, New Zealand is for you!
Tomorrow we’re off to our next destination Lake Wanaka and then on to Queenstown. We hope everyone is having a great spring break!!