Greymouth to Franz Josef

(February 24th 2007)

We started our drive this morning from Greymouth and soon came across one of the famous ‘one lane bridges’ here in New Zealand. They are everywhere, and not normally a problem. One way has preference over the other and you give way to someone depending on what the sign says. This one however was a bit different. Not only was it one lane and you share it with cars and lorries coming in the other direction, but it was also used by trains. There were train tracks down the middle of the bridge, oh and by the way, trains are exempt from giving way, so you have to look out. Gladly, so far we haven’t seen any trains, but they put the willies up me every time we cross tracks.

The journey was as usual fantastic to drive and just look out the window. We passed beautiful ice blue lakes and rivers and massive mountains, some with snow on them. The snow topped peaks are the source of the Franz Josef glacier, and we could see more and more as we approached the town. The town itself (really a township) is very small, but has everything that you need. Our room wasn’t ready, so we drove to the carpark nearest the glacier and took a walk towards the face of it. We didn’t go all the way but close enough to get some great pictures, before turning back and checking in at the motel.

The Punga Grove motel seems very nice, and we have a small balcony looking out into the rainforest, but sadly no broadband, so this will be a little late, but you know that already. We had a really lovely meal at a local restaurant The Alice May. I had fabulous bangers, mash and peas (my favourite meal in the world) and Amanda had venison stew with mash and veggies. It was delicious and so reasonable. No matter where we have ate the prices are so good as all the restaurants are mainly full of locals there’s no rip off! A strange concept to us coming from the UK.

Tomorrow, it’s the helicopter ride over the two glaciers, so that should be fun. Amanda is so looking forward to it….not!

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