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Adventures in Flying by the Seat of my Pants Conquering Aotearoa One Day at a Time

To the Glaciers!

NEW ZEALAND | Friday, 29 April 2011 | Views [278]

Well, my visit to Stewart Island was a bit of a bust; it was cold, rainy and grey and barely anyone left the hostel. Several movies were viewed and books read, and only a bit of walking done. The hostel only had a bed available for two nights, so really I didn't give Stewart Island a fair chance, but because of everything I was expecting and hoping to see, it was obviously a bit disappointing. I really, really wanted to see a kiwi in the wild and the Aurora Australius, but I didn't see either. Overall, it was a bit of an expensive detour. Oh well, on the other hand, I managed to get a ride from a Couch Surfing host from Invercargill to Queenstown. So while Stewart Island was a letdown, I was able to get further along in my travels pretty effortlessly.

So... a ride to Queenstown, which has beautiful scenery, fantastic mountain views, and oddly, lots of roses and sequoias. I ended up sticking around for a few days, one of those days I went to Milford Sound, a trip I almost missed by a seven minutes.

My bus was scheduled to pick me up right outside the hostel at 7:20am and I rolled over to look at my watch at 7:27am, the same instance I bolted out of bed, trying to grab as much as I possibly could and sprinted barefoot out the door and across the gravel and lawn to the bus stop. I forgot my jeans, I might have had only one boot in hand, and I didn't have my keys. So I ran back, tried to get more, ran back, got dressed to the best of my ability on the footpath and asked the woman standing over me if she had seen a bus pass by in the time she had been waiting for her own ride. Luckily, she was actually waiting for the same bus, had been standing there since about 7:10am, and the bus was running late. Phew, close call and I think I didn't drop too many things in between the stop and the hostel. That was actually the most exciting thing about the day, I mean, the road to Milford is stunning, and it only gets more beautiful with rain, but Milford Sound itself? Well, I didn't really know what to expect, but I had been told that it is the most beautiful place in the world, and I think that there were stops along the road that were far more beautiful than the Sound. But whatevs, to each their own.

From Queenstown I worked my way north along the West Coast to Franz Josef, one of the two famous glaciers. I've been here for a week, working two hours a day in exchange for free accommodations, which has been pretty great - not the working so much as the free bed and beautiful surroundings. It costs a billiondy dollars to actually walk on the glaciers, but there are some fantastic walks around and to the terminal moraine that are well worth the walk uphill.

The plan from here is to travel around for almost two weeks, then head back down to Invercargill where I may be getting a job with GreenPeace and then figure out if I'm still departing New Zealand on June 7th or changing my ticket to a later date. If I do change it, then I might also be changing it for a longer stay in Fiji before returning to the States. As usual, everything is undecided.

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