Liquid Ice – Hokitika Gorge & Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

by Funhog Family on March 24, 2017

We made it through Arthur’s Pass yesterday after hiking Cave Stream. The scenery was as beautiful as the road was twisty and the bridges were narrow. There are huge tour buses zooming down these roads that make me uncomfortable in a mini coop style SUV. We got to our camp for the night and found it crowded. We took the last spot available and jumped in our tent as quickly as possible. You could look at your arm and it would be crawling with sand gnats and mosquitos. We made a game out of squishing them once we were in the tent, so we could enjoy a blood-free sleep.

In the morning, we found out why we needed to come to that specific camp spot. There was a kiwi beside our tent when we came out of it. It was not afraid of us and stayed around for a while, as Sydney chased it with a camera. As we were leaving camp we saw another one that we enjoyed watching.
We drove around a pretty lake enroute to Hokitika Gorge. There was a sign for Dorthy’s Falls that we decided to hike to and read bible for the morning. It wasgorgeous and we were the only ones there to enjoy it. After miles of backcountry we made it to the gorge. There really were not words to say on the colors of the water in contrast to all the vegetation. It was super scenic. We contemplated jumping off the swinging bridge for some extra adventure, but with the water being so cold we were a little concerned we might forget how to swim. There was also the current to deal with and a pretty healthy bush wack back up to the trail, so sanity prevailed this time. 🙂

Our next stop (many hours later) was a glacier hike. The hike keeps having to be rerouted because the river floods and washes the path away. Lucky for us they had complete it again, so we could hike all the way to the base of the glacier. To hike on the glacier they were asking you pay a guide a pretty steep fee for an additional hour or two on the ice. So, we decided seeing it would be enough this time. It was cold as the wind was coming off the ice. We made it to a point in the trail where we could see most of the glacier and that is where we ate a snack watching the scenery and all the people. It is fun that we are the minority here. Everyone is speaking different languages and coming in all different fairly lean sizes. We think the Chinese win having the most tourists here. Another we noticed is the lack of kids. We have only seen two or three thewhole time we have been in the country. Most people are over fifty, retired and taking a tour trip.Then the rest of the people are in the twenties and thirties. This group looks like travel vagabonds and you can tell that they live a life of travel. The daddy/daughter is made up of just us!

Sydney’s Take – The glacier was really pretty, but very cold when we got close to it. Everything we have been doing has been people-free until the glacier, I think all of New Zealand was there! The Kiwi that came into our camp this morning was really neat. The Hokitika Gorge was amazing, being like liquid ice.
I can just picture the dwarves riding down that water in their barrels. By the way, the sand gnats are AWFUL, way worse than mosquitos. They cover our bodies and leave us with welts.

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