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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 252: Punakaiki to Franz Josef

NEW ZEALAND | Monday, 14 July 2008 | Views [1360]

Monday 14th July

Although we had to check out of the hostel by 10.00, I got myself and my gear together at a leisurely pace, had some breakfast and said our goodbyes to the group of people that we had been hanging out with in Punakaiki. It was a decent day and we were thankful for this as we had heard that the drive south to Franz Josef was a really scenic one, and it's always better to have good weather for these trips.

We stopped off in Greymouth to pick up some more supplies at the supermarket, and enjoyed the drive down to Franz Josef where we arrived at 16.30. We checked into the 'Glow Worm Cottages' in this very small town, which is made up of one main street and a bunch of buildings – mainly catering to the tourist population – lining it.

Mark had already arrived there the day before and we caught up with him before we took a walk to the DoC office to figure out what was going on in the area, apart from the obvious glacier hikes which are by far the biggest draw. I had booked myself onto a full day glacier hike for the following day and called into the Franz Josef Glacier Guides office to find out further information on that.

Franz Josef is also very well served with fast and reasonably cheap internet, and I spent a few hours uploading photos in 'The Big Red Bus' internet cafe, and was amazed at how quick it was, especially in comparison to what I had been used to in New Zealand (and, in fact, most other places). The fact that the owners were decent, friendly people also helped.

Like some of the other hostels in Franz Josef, the 'Glow Worm Cottages' serves free hot vegetable soup at 18.00 every day, and it's a popular perk with the backpacking community who stay there. It's also useful in saving a few dollars on dinner, and I could imagine how many soup-only diets were going on over the course of a stay here.

I headed back to the internet place to make the most of the fast connection as it was a particular novelty, and added some photos to ensure that I had another form of a back-up in the event that the camera memory card and all the DVDs I have gathered over the months somehow disappear. After some more food, a group of us went to the 'Blue Ice' pub for a bit and I made sure that I got an early night, to make sure that I was rested sufficiently for the big hike up the glacier the following day.


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