My morning began late – I got to sleep in cause my Glacier walk didn’t start until ten am. A van took us up to the terminal face of the Fox Glacier and we hiked up to check out the views. Others on the trip opted for a much tougher half-day hike but I didn’t take part. I’m from Canada, people. It’s snow and ice. Big whoop. Actually it was pretty majestic to see the glacier cascading from the cliffs, we got to see lots from our viewpoint, so I was happy with that. Lunch at the glacier chalet was delicious, but after that our trip got thrown off the rails and kept going that way for the rest of our time together. It wasnt necessarily a bad thing – we still got to see and do everything we were promised, but there was no sticking to the itinerary, that’s for sure!
Let me explain first. The roads through the mountains are subject to inclement weather and the only road through the mountains to Queenstown was closed half an hour after we left the town of Fox Glacier. Unfortunately there was no cell service to let us know that, so when we got to Haast Pass, we had to turn around and go back the way we came! It was unfortunate but out trusty guides let us know we would still (eventually) get to our destination, but it would be the long way round. We backtracked all day on the bus, stopping quickly for dinner in Hokitika (now a ghost town after 5pm) and watched movies on the bus until late in the evening when we finally arrived BACK in Christchurch for the evening. There was nothing to do/nothing open so it was an early night, in preparation for the long drive ahead of us the next day.
Luckily our drive was broken up by some pleasant stops as we took an alternate route to Queenstown. First up was morning tea and a tour at Morelea Farm, a sheep farm run by a lovely couple who explained to us the finer points of sheep farming and how their thousand hectare farm operates I got to feed a little lamby!! It ALMOST made me feel bad about how much I love lamb. Lol. We also got to see how the sheepdogs round-up the sheep for the farmers, and how a sheep is sheared. it was a really informative visit, and I’m glad it was included in our trip because we pass so many farms along the way on our travels and gave me insight into a subject I don’t know too much about. I am now a sheep farming expert!
There were a few more stops that afternoon, lunch was at Lake Tikapo where I caught my whole family on the phone while they were having Thanksgiving dinner. It was so nice to talk to everyone! I loved reconnecting with them, and it made me a wee bit homesick. I was determined to enjoy the rest of my time in NZ, though, and chatted with my lovely bus buddy Andrew (from Ireland) alllll the long way to Queenstown. We rolled in a few hours before dinner, and had some time to settle into our apartment style suites before eating at at the world-famous Winnie’s bar. They stuffed us with pizza and garlic bread and salad until we were groaning, and then we got to have a special treat – a trip to an Ice Bar, where everything is made of ice, including the drink glasses!
It was fun to suit up in the excellent winter coats and gloves provided for us, and look at all the cool sculptures and features carved into this bar made entirely of ice. They even had an ice air hockey table and an ice photo booth! We all took WAY too many photos and had a great time sampling ice shots and yum drinks as well. We only left when our hands were frozen to our glasses and our shoes were wet. haha! it was a great way to end a long day of driving, I’ve always wanted to visit an ice bar, now I can cross that off my list as well!
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