Day 2 – Christchurch to Franz Josef

Today we got up early, packed up our bags and left our little cell for the train station.  There we hopped aboard the Scenic Tranzalpine Express which would take us all the way across to the west coast to Greymouth. The train was super plush compared to the usual commuter trains that we get back home. Alice and I were by far in the minority when it came to age. I think we boarded the oap train. We were actually congratulated by one elderly lady for being a ‘gapper’ (oap slang for traveller on a gap year I believe). We nodded in agreement and after she moved on, sunk down in our seats to pop on our complementary headsets to listen to the audio commentary. Let me tell you, we boarded that train idiots, and left geology pros (that’s rocks for you and me).

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^^ Our carriage and seats ^^

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^^ The journey took us right through the mountains and through the valleys, meaning the views the whole way were stunning ^^

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^^ Crazy curls ^^

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^^ Into the tunnel and under the mountain ^^

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^^ The water was very grey in colour. Thanks to our headsets, we learnt this was because of the clay-like sediment from the rocks ^^

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^^ Enjoying a ginger beer in the dining carriage ^^

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^^ It took roughly 4 hours, with a quick stop on the way to Arthurs Pass where we said goodbye to our new friend and her gang to their onward coach trip. Spot the rainbow between the mountains ^^

At Greymouth Alice left to fetch the hire car and returned with this Toyota Highlander! Now we weren’t expecting this car. We had booked a little 4×4 but of course they surprised us with ‘we have upgraded you!’. We were a little nervous of its size, however it took no less than a mile down the road for us both to declare that we want to keep it forever. It is so swish… heated seats!!! We’re sold!

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^^ We stopped along the way for a little walk outside Hokitika and of course needed to stretch. The car proved to be the perfect limbering device. We’re practically advertising the car! ^^

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^^ The swing bridge over the blue river (which unfortunately was quite murky the day we went due to heavy rainfall the previous day) ^^

We later arrived in Franz Josef at our little Glow Worm Hostel, which was delightful. A welcome fire and FREE INTERNET, a backpackers dream, we settled in for the night. To save some money and due to our early start that day, we decided to have a chilled night in with a bottle of red and some quick-cook pasta. We’re off to walk to the glacier tomorrow (weather permitting) so an early night tonight.

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