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Sky and Ice

Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

The first thing we did when we arrived at Franz Josef was to sample the delights of the only bar in town, The Landing. We woke up the next mornning unwilling to leave the confines of our hostel due to the previous night's behaviour (dancing on chairs in the middle of a near empty bar- the less said the better). We plucked up the courage to leave our hostel but only for the sole purpose of escaping to the barren landscape of the Franz Josef Glacier. Trousers tucked into socks, crampons on our boots, we climbed four hundred ice steps, freshly carved by our pick-axe wielding guide. Three hours later we had squeezed through numerous crevasses, across steep ledges and narrowly avoided icy worm holes. It was during this time that Murph found a new talent as she inadvertantly discovered a freshly opened crevass. She likes to think that she saved many lives with this discovery.

On a beautiful day we walked around Lake Matheson, a mirror lake which brilliantly reflected the mountaineous backdrop. As trekking up Glaciers was old news to us now we were content with simply stomping to a viewpoint to observe the Fox Glacier from afar.

Next stop on our epic voyage was Lake Wanaka, a town full of trendy-wendy skiers and snowboarders. Due to ski season all the accomodation was full and so we trailer trashed it up and became residents of the local caravan park. At the Fox Glacier we had attempted to do a skydive, but good luck was not on our side. A half hour car journey had been spent psyching ourselves up to such adrenalin-pumping classics as The Prodigy's 'Smack my B***h up'. On arrival we discovered that not only cars had it in for us, our transport problems applied to planes as well. This time it wasn't just a flat battery, a whole new engine was needed. Take two and we decided to jump over Lake Wanaka instead, where luckily all planes were in working order.

The day turned into an impromptu photo shoot as the company were updating thier website. You can browse the pages of www.skydivenz.com to find our photos along with alarmingly cheesy post-dive 'testimonials'.This is a direct link to a delightful photo of the four us. http://www.skydivenz.com/skydive_blog.html Murph would like it to be known that due to warnings of severe cold at 15,000 feet she felt it necessary to wear two jumpers and a coat under her jumpsuit and this is why she looks like Fat Bastard's wife and not because she has put on 100 pounds. On the plane ride up there was much broken equipment banter as we all sat wedged on our instructor's laps. It is hard to sum up the experience, the dive was truly amazing. Falling out of a plane at 200km/hr and free-falling for 60 seconds is not half as frightening as one might expect. With views of snow-capped mountains, Glaciers and lakes we were very smug with our choice of location. We loved it so much we are already planning another jump.

To celebrate we headed to Shooters Bar where we had the surprising revelation that the 'cool-guy' boarders had a penchant for karaoke. One particularly emotional rendition of Eric Clapton's 'Tears in Heaven' almost brought tears to our eyes. Shooters closed disappointingly early so we accepted an invitation to a friend's house party. Roger, 'Flank' and the crew must have woken the next morning to find a storm had passed through their rented apartment. Their weekly food shopping had been devoured, including a rather large supply of mustard and Erin confused by the concept of a sliding door pushed a little too hard and removed the bathroom door from its hinges. Boys: Erin 'The Incredible Hulk' Gillham apologises and hopes you got your deposit back!

permalink written by  Murph, Tay, Colly and Erin on August 26, 2006 from Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
from the travel blog: The Smug Adventures Down Under
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The photographs are stunning, so I can only imagine what the scenery is actually like. Glad you are enjoying NZ, and we are certainly enjoying sharing all your adventures. Glad we heard about the sky diving after the event! Enjoy your last few days and safe travels to Cairns on the weekend. Keep blogging - and travel safely.
mummy murphy xxxx

permalink written by  liz murphy on August 30, 2006

Hi Laura, the picture of the mountains reflected in lake looks amazing! Can I have a copy when you are back? Paul (& Hel).

permalink written by  Paul Grocott on September 2, 2006

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