As we made our way up the coast we found there was an area that had two active glaciers. The Fox and the Franz Josef glaciers. So we grabbed lunch in Fox township at a country western restaurant/bar and drove to the Franz Josef. We took about 20 min walk to the glacier and took some photos. Since we pretty much knew what snow and ice looked like we didn't feel the need to stay too long. It was still pretty cool to see an active glacier in the middle of a tropical island in the South Pacific. Only in New Zealand.
We stopped in a pub in small town South of Greymouth for a break and met some of the locals. On the TV there was what looked like a version of Women's American Basketball, Jen was very excited to watch it but it turned out to be some really sterilized version of the sport. It's called Netball, and I guess it's the second most popular sport in the area next to rugby. Just imagine American Basketball without dribbling and no contact. The hoop is a standard hoop but without the backboard. So there were no layups, no three pointers, they just passed the ball, once they got it they couldn't take any steps. Once under the hoop the shooter stopped and made the shot. The only defense was between passes and an occasional hand up in the air trying to block a shot. But it looked like the blocker couldn't move their feet either once the shooter started her shot. Strange game.
We made it into Greymouth and checked in to the hostel. Found a grocery store and stocked up for dinner. Jen found a bulk bin full of giant gummy worms, actually they looked more like pythons. So for dinner we split a bottle of Australian Cab/Merlot, made noodles in a cup and PB & J sandwiches with gummy snakes for dessert.... mmmm. ;)
Today we drop off our trusty 1990 Nissan Pulsar at the train station and take the Tranz Alpine train ( http://www.tranzscenic.co.nz/services/tranzalpine.aspx ) across Aurthur's Pass to Christchurch where we'll pick up a new car and stay for the night before heading North to Picton. This should take up the rest of the day going through the Southern Alps, we should get plenty of photos as it's supposed to be one of the most scenic train trips in the world, so says the marketing.
The train leaves at 1:15 and takes about 5 hours. I'm actually looking forward to it, I'll be able to see all the scenery without having to worry about staying on the road.
We'll try to get out another update once we make it into Christchurch with some photos from the trip.
Hope everyone is doing well, thank you for the comments it's great to hear from everyone back home. Keep them coming.
Love, Mike and Jen