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Saturday 13 Mar 2004
Glacier Country, New Zealand

Crossed Arthurs Pass!

12th March 2004

Left Christchurch this morning. Headed off across Arthurs Pass through the northern section of the Southern Alps amidst some pretty hot weather. The South Island has proven to be a LOT hotter in general than the North Isle, ironic I thought, because the South is surely closer to the Antartic non? hmmm

The drive through Arthurs Pass was long and winding, but travelled through some fantastic mountainous "scapes" as the flat land of the Eastern Canturbury plain gradually rose into the western alpine section. The drive wasnt aided by several obnoxious juvenile car drivers hooting my slow-climbing vehicle on their way to a festival on the west coast. The festival, I soon found out, is called the "Wild Foods Festival" held in Hokitika...

After passing the small alpine village of Arthurs Pass, I drove on about 17km and stopped for a night at "Kellys Creek" camping site... a FREE camp site. For once I wasnt being "illegal" not paying

A few too many sandflies though... apparently it gets a lot worse as I go south!!


Finished the downhill trip along the western side of the alps and turned left down towards Hokitika. I thought I might as well check out what exactly this festival was all about...

When I got there, 3 hours later, this tiny town was PACKED (I sort of guessed by the amount of traffic passing me by yesterday and today). The festival is supposed to be a chance to eat venison, wild pig, or even insect grubs (yum!) in a fast-food stylee backed by some live music. A kiwi guy I met told me it was "basically a chance to get wasted".

erm.. yeah!

Anywayz, I check out the place... saw that tickets were all sold out (yeah you had to pay 20 dollars!! Not like a freeloader like myself is gonna do that now!!), but I got the impression it was a fairly provincial sort of occasion and had a few too many noisy 16-year olds for my liking (normally laid-back Kiwis, like Ozzies, tend to go a bit rowdy at holidays and festivals... thats the impression I got of Ozzies when I met them abroad).

I DID buy some baked garlic for the road-trip.. yum... and then I was off again.

Soon I arrived at "glacier country". Ive been here about one hour but my initial impressions are that Franz Josef (the town that is) is purely a tourist-catering affair for the Franz Josef galcier! You can do walks on the glacier starting at 65 dollars for 2 hours (yipe!)... or you can walk there by yourself (just not on the ice) for ... FREE....

umm I think Ill try that first...

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