I took the InterCity bus from Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier, an 8 hour bus ride that could have easily been done in 6 hours (because they stopped every hour so people could grab food, the driver could rest, etc.) Despite the length, it was a nice, scenic drive and we got to stop in some really beautiful areas to take pictures.
While it was a beautiful drive, the west coast is notorious for having the rainiest weather in all of New Zealand. Sure enough, as we got closer and closer to Franz Josef the weather got grayer and more dismal.
I decided to come to Franz Josef to complete item #25 on my 55 Places bucket list which is “Try not to lose my footing on a glacier.” So I signed myself up for a full day glacier hike, rain or shine.
As luck would have it, I woke up the following day to seriously rainy weather.
I’ll say that hiking on the glacier was really tough. I just don’t think people are supposed to go on glaciers. It’s a dangerous place and while I had crampons on my shoes, I just couldn’t trust that those little spikes would keep me from sliding all the way down to the bottom of the glacier. Actually, a girl in my group ended up falling and sliding a bit… she was okay but the ice really wasn’t very forgiving. I’m sure she left with some bruises.
By the end of the day, I was ready for the hike to be over. I was literally limping from a pain in my left knee… perhaps hiking the 50+ miles the week before was catching up with me? Also, my feet were completely soaked from pools of water that had amassed in my shoes. I literally could POUR the water out, and a week later my shoes are STILL a little damp!
I’ll say that I’m glad that I did it, but I think one glacier is enough for me. Consider that bucket list item done and done!
After this, I headed to Nelson for a final 3 days where I celebrated ANZAC Day, had coffee in their trendy cafes, visited the center of New Zealand and went wine tasting… MUCH more relaxing!