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Day Seven – Queenstown to Franz Josef – New Zealand

I woke up – and I could move!! This was a bloody good thing! After a thoroughly enjoyable morning walk along the beautiful braided river I felt even better.

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We managed to get on the road by 10am after a quick stop to the petrol station, the supermarket AND the pharmacy where I almost had to bend over for a rectal examination to get my extra strength codeine – but I got it! So off we set for Franz Josef!

The road to Franz Josef is known as the famous Haas Pass and there’s a reason it is so famous! Hours and hours of winding roads, sometimes at the very precipice of huge valleys. It was reminiscent of the Great Ocean Road but on steroids! Instead of cliffs and ocean, the Haas Pass has craggy snow topped mountains and rushing rivers through glacial valleys that had been carved out many, many years ago. We stopped at a look out to walk out over the mountains to look right down into a valley. It gave you a quiver in your waim but was just breathtaking.

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You can see the tundra in the background. These mountains are in a rainshadow and are therefore technically in a desert. It’s really rugged countryside but devastatingly beautiful.

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The river sediments are completely different here. Totally made up of glacial deposits, the sediments are unconsolidated mountain rocks with rock flour and mud mixed in. It makes for a really light grey colour and rocky texture – nothing like the sandy quartz we see at home.

Lunch was at a cute little place called Paringa. Stunning views and a gobsmacking lake.

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I must be getting desperate for animal company because I even made friends with the local Sparrows…..

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Winding up through beautiful rainforest, although very different to the Otway rainforest (I’ll explain later) we came across a place called Fantail Falls. Eager to experience the¬†whole kit and caboodle, I decided to test the glacial waters – it took 40 seconds and I couldn’t feel my toes – left me tingly for an hour!

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Having wound our way through forest and lakes for many hours, we finally emerged onto the west coast of New Zealand – a completely rugged but beautiful coastline. There were signs to say beware of debris on the roads after wild weather! The beach was magnificent! We stopped at a place called Bruce Bay which had a little caravan selling Kumara soup. The driftwood on the beach was drool worthy and indicative of exactly how much power the waves must thump onto the beach! Who knows where the wood is from!

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There are cairns everywhere here on the south island, but this one was really cute – people had written messages from all over the world. So I stopped and wrote one for my babies…..

 

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After a very long drive, we finally found the township of Franz Josef. We decided to stay in a camper van park as we planned to stay for two nights and a hot shower sounded really good! We chose a great spot and sat down to enjoy a bottle of wine and start prepping our fossils and rocks to bring home! LS Mentor got tipsy!

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