NZ South Island – Franz Josef Full Day

Kia Ora! It was nice waking up this morning in the rainforest retreat. We had a breakfast included today that they delivered to our room last night. It was huge and great. It’s included a loaf of fresh bread, butters, jams, cereal, yogurt, muffins, fruit, milk and juice. We had breakfast this morning on our little verandah looking at the rainforest which was nice, but a bit cold.

We then got ready and drove about 5 minutes down the road to begin our first activity. As Aimee didn’t get to go on the glacier helihike yesterday we decided to do the glacier view walk. It was a short 20 minute walks through some nice vegetation on a well manicured path up to a viewpoint to see the Franz Josef Glacier. It was really quite a stunning view. We have had a lot of views of mountains on this trip, but honestly, it never gets old. So beautiful. A really lovely view. Due to climate change the glacier has receded a lot and probably won’t exist in 100 or so years. It was great to be able to witness it.

After that we strolled back to the car and drove straight to our next walk. It was about half an hour down very windy roads towards to Fox glacier. We weren’t looking at a glacier this time though. We arrived at the Lake Matheson walk. There is a nice little cafe at the start of the walk where we grabbed a coffee and marvelled at Mt Cook and Mt Tasman in the distance.

We then hit the trail and began our walk. It was again, a really nice trek. It was about 3kms around a lake with several viewpoints. The most spectacular one they call the “view of views” which on a perfect day (today was not quite that!) you can see Mt Cook and Mt Tasman mirrored in the lake. It was a little bit cloudy and the lake wasn’t perfectly still. It was still beautiful though.

The walk through the native vegetation was also quite lovely. There is something about going on hikes and being in nature that is refreshing.

We made it back to the Franz Josef township ready to grab some lunch. We decided to have lunch at the Snakebite Brewery. It was weird because the same guy serving us last night at blue ice was working here too and served us haha. We ordered a serve of pork and prawn dumplings which were pretty decent and we got a sizzling garlic pepper beef stirfry which looked and smelled amazing, but wasn’t that good as the beef was a bit dry. Ronnie got Nasi Goreng which was spicy and yummy. It went down a treat.

We walked down the road to our afternoon activity which was going to a Kiwi encounter and wildlife centre. We realised that we have been in NZ (including our last trip) for over 5 weeks and we haven’t seen a single kiwi. We changed that today. The Kiwi room was really cool because it is very dark and quiet. As Kiwi’s are nocturnal they have to have the room this way or else they would not come out. The Kiwi’s were very active. There were only 2 but they were running around and making strange noises and battling each other. It was pretty fun. The rest of the wildlife centre was pretty much a mini-museum talking about Kiwi’s, the glacier and other native animals. They had these reptiles called Kuakata that were heaps good at camouflaging. We swear they didn’t move but we kept finding new ones right in front of our eyes that we couldn’t see before.

We stopped by the Landing again for a few more virgin frozen strawberry daiquiris which were awesome.

It was back to the hotel for a little bit of a rest before we headed to dinner. We ended up at the hotel restaurant called Monsoon which was filled with great reviews. Unfortunately for us, it was not a good experience. There weren’t many people there and the concierge was slow and rude. She asked us to sit wherever we wanted and she would come and find us. Apparently, we hid a little bit too well because despite there being nobody else in the restaurant it took them 20 minutes to come over to us. At which point she says “you ready to order yet?” Bitch, we haven’t even got menus. She gave us a menu and we ordered a Margherita and a meat lovers pizza and some cheesy garlic bread. It was all terrible. The pizza is better at dominos. It was flavourless, poor ingredients and just overall trash. To make matters worse when we went to pay they left us standing there for 15 minutes before taking our money. Would not recommend.

We had to get the foul taste of dinner from our mouths so we went for a walk back to the landing for another frozen strawberry daiquiri. It did the trick.

Spending
Lunch: $70
Daiquiris: $15
Kiwi: $65
Dinner: $68
Daiquiris (again!): $15
Total: $233

Much Love,
Ronnie & Aimee.

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