Well, we ended up staying in Queenstown another night instead of driving to Omarama. But we still got to go to some hot tubs! There was a little place just outside of town and we got to sit in the hot tubs while it was snowing outside. There was a wall of windows that opened onto a great view of the snowy mountains.
On Friday we left early for Franz Josef, one of the most well-known glaciers in New Zealand. And the weather was actually nice! So nice, in fact, that we stopped along the way and took a little trail to this waterfall.
We also stopped at a scenic overview and saw the Tasman Sea for the first time.
After we got to Franz Josef and dropped off our luggage at the hotel, we went to the glacier right away while there was still daylight. The hike to the glacier was ridiculously windy, but at least it wasn’t raining!
As it turned out, there were hot pools in Franz Josef, so several of us went to make use of those after supper. Not much in these little towns is open after about 5:00 or 6:00, but the hot pools stayed open until 9:00.
Our destination on Saturday was Hokitika. We actually drove past it a little way to go see the famous pancake rocks.
There were also blowholes where water shoots up though the rock formations, but the sea was too calm that day to have any effect.
Back in Hokitika, Matt and I got some good photos at Sunset Point.
We ate dinner at a little restaurant where I got a very good phyllo “parcel” filled with roasted vegetables.
Today we spent most of our time driving back to Christchurch. We were invited to dinner by a local family whose daughter is goes to UT Martin. They really went all out to feed us! For an appetizer we had all kinds of chips, dips, cheese, and crackers. Next they served a tomato pumpkin soup with bread. The main course was salad, roasted lamb (and some other meats, too) roasted vegetables, peas and carrots. And for dessert there was New Zealand’s famous pavlova (a sort of meringue mountain), brandy snaps, meringues, and ice cream. I think everybody had a great time.
Tomorrow afternoon we fly back to Auckland and then have another overnight flight to LA. We’ll actually be spending the night in LA to avoid the alternative of an 11 hour layover followed by a red-eye flight, so we’ll have all afternoon to explore there if we want to. See you then!