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C2C’s Travel Diary

Friday, 21 Nov 2008

Location: Kaniere to Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Map21 November – Kaniere to Fox Glacier

Had a fantastic morning at Kaniere – borrowed some mountain bikes and cycled along the lakeside to Dorothy Falls (sounds like some 1920s heroine suffering a ‘fate worse than death’). Quite good – dappled sunlight etc – but we seem to be becoming waterfalled-out.

J tried repeatedly to capture the song of the Tui for posterity. Since she failed it will have to be described here. Whistle – hoot – pop – crash – hoot hoot – squawk. There. Almost as good as the real thing.

So we set off at around 11. By 1.45 B was beginning to exhibit his customary anxiety (experienced whenever there are no firm plans for the next meal) and so we hastily consulted the Lonely Planet and settled upon the Empire Hotel in Ross. Ross is a town born of the 1870’s gold rush. Not much seems to have happened there since then. For those brought up on Westerns J swore she saw a ball of tumbleweed blowing down Main Street – but needs must. We pulled up at the Empire & noticed a ‘for sale’ sign on the front door. Not a good omen. Pressed on and entered a palace of male pursuits: big screen projection TV, pool tables, newspapers with racing form etc. And completely deserted except for 2 dogs which careered towards us, salivating and barking. Having made friends with them we looked around to see a tousled chap emerge from the recesses – unshaven, vest hastily tucked into jeans – who greeted us with the immortal words ‘ I’m just making myself breakfast – want something?’ Fish and chips seemed safest. He advised us to eat them outside. We did and, bizarrely, they were excellent.

Left & drove first to the Franz Josef Glacier (the more commercialised). Ghastly town dedicated to helicopter flights but just outside it the glacier could be viewed quite readily and was spectacular. But we’d decided to spend more time at Fox Glacier (about 20km away) so we pressed on. Completely different feel to the town: less commercial & crowded. Stayed on a site near the centre and had dinner at a restaurant about 20 paces away.