Kia Ora! Sorry it's been so long but I've been on a tour of the South Island and out in wilds without internet access. Once term ended Kylie, Ben, Marius and I piled into a van and headed off. On the first day we went through Arthur's Pass to the Pancake Rocks, which are a limestone formation that looks like a bunch of thin pancakes stacked on top of each other. It made me think that Mother Nature must be playing some sort of joke on New Zealand because it's just so curious. After that we went down the West coast to Hokitika which is a cute town that is famous for jade carving. Kylie and I rummaged through the 50% off section and found some cool jade pendants as souviners. After that we headed for Okarito for the evening. We had heard that you can see kiwis there, but unfortunately it was pouring rain so that wasn't going to happen.
The next morning we got up bright and early and headed to the glaciers. I went on a full day (7-hour) hike on the glaciers that was seriously amazing! The glaciers are in a temperate rainforest, which is a very unique situation. I got all suited up with crampons, waterproof gear, and some warm weather gear and had an awesome day on Fox glacier. I got to go into an ice cave, through some cravasses, and saw lots of streams winding their way through the ice. The color of the ice was the same startling blue of the rest of New Zealand. That night we headed to Wanaka and crashed early.
On day three we went on a hike near Wanaka. We had intended to do Rob Roy Glacier Valley (I know, another glacier) but the swing bridge had closed the day before, so there was no way to start the trail. As a happy accident, however, we ended up doing a hike that spurred off Rob Roy and turned out to be beautiful. It was also super easy going, so that always helps. There were loose sheep and cattle on the trail so we had some fun herding sheep. The trail had views of three glaciers and we walked along a river bed. That night we headed to Queenstown. By this time we were all so exhausted by our travels that it was a bit of a mess trying to find our hostel and settle in for the night; but we eventually made it and settled in for a good sleep. Continued in the next entry!