Hey everybody, so the last three days have been incredibly busy to say the least. On the 13th (Thurs), I made a day trip out to Milford Sound, which is famous for some of the most beautiful scenery on Earth. It truly was too. I cannot post any pictures from the computers here in Nelson, but as soon as I can, the pics will be on here...and they are amazing. I got very, very lucky with the weather! It had rained in the morning in Fiordland Park (where Milford Sound, which is actually itself a fiord, is) and then cleared up for the afternoon when we arrived...so that meant that there were hundreds, and I am dead serious when I say hundreds, of waterfalls cascading the down the thousands of feet of sheer rock walls that wall in the fiords. I was glued to the window of the bus for the entire ride, and we even got to get out and walk around at some of the particularly beautiful spots. Wait for the pics...they will be nothing like the real thing, but I'm sure they will make everyone want to go! It was surreal!
So yesterday I got the bus from Queenstown to the Franz Josef glacier. It was a great bus ride through yet more amazingly beautiful countryside. We stopped at a fruit market in the middle of New Zealand's best fruit growing region...delicious and well presented for certain. We passed by a bunch of old war planes that were the stars of an airshow for the weekend in Wanaka. I got to see plenty of blue turquoise glacial lakes and rivers surrounded by snow capped peaks. Then after passing over the divide, we drove through the rainforested hills and mountains that make up the west coast of the south island. The best was the surprises awaiting me at Franz Josef town. I was only passing through for the evening, getting in at 4:30 PM and leaving the next morning at 9:00 AM...so I wasnt expecting to see the glacier at all. Fortunately for me, the last shuttle to the glacier trailhead left at 4:45 and I was able to catch it! The glacier is huge and surrounded by lush rainforest...more to come with the pics. Then to add the icing to the cake, I found out about a free night hike in the area to see glowworms (something that many many people pay a premium to see here in NZ). The glowworms were amazing! Imagine standing in pitch black forest and then all of the sudden seeing all of these pinpricks of light all around you. Like a ton of little cities in distant hills or stars in the night sky...beautiful and amazing for sure.
Today was the long haul up the west coast from Franz Josef to Nelson (at the top of the s. island). The west coast was rugged and incredible...yet more amazing scenery. Then we made a turn inland to go more into the center of the island and followed the river they used for the Great River in Lord of the Rings...pretty cool stuff. Anyway, I'm in Nelson now and should have some great pics coming your way...enjoy and look for more soon!