Today was the big day of our BIG adventure and luckily there was nothing but clear blue skies. We headed to the office to meet up with the guides and the other people as crazy as us to go Canyoning. We had a small group of 6, most had never done this before, so it was a little comforting that we weren’t going with a bunch of experts.
We drove out to a farm, put on some wet suits (over plenty of layers), helmets, gloves and shoes and then hiked up the mountain. Once at the top, we were given some instructions, but it’s more kiwi-style to just explain/learn as you go. So first thing first, we jumped into the freezing cold water to get use to the temperature. And then the fun began.
Here’s a recap of our day. First, repel down a waterfall, then slide down a waterfall, repeat repelling, slide, jump from ledge into water, repel, zip-line across the canyon water, repel, slide, slide, repel, zip-line, in shock that you somehow lived through this whole adventure without dying, hike back to safety, enjoy hot tea and english sandwiches, arrive back in Wanaka. I’ll let the photos do the real storytelling.
I was beyond nervous when we were first walking up to the top of the canyon to begin the day, but by the end of it, I had a total adrenaline high, it was so awesome! I would highly recommend anyone going to New Zealand to do this trip, the company is called Deep Canyon. After the canyoning, we drove 3 and half hours to Fox Glacier and talked for about 3 hours straight about what we had just experienced. We had a blast, Dave said I looked freaked out the whole time, which I was at first, but after you rock a few waterfalls, it’s all fun!
So as I mentioned, we drove to Fox after our canyoning adventure. We had already done part of this drive the day before, luckily this time it wasn’t raining. The Haast Pass drive has a ton of one lane bridges, they seem to be all over the South Island. The drive from Haast to Fox has some really cool ones, some cable bridges and even a really long one land bridge with passing landings in the middle. We enjoyed our Subway sandwich dinner on the side of the road overlooking the Tasman Sea, quite lovely except for all the sandflies. We got to Fox around 9 and after a hot shower and a glass of wine to celebrate our canyoning achievement, headed straight to bed.
In the morning we had booked a half day glacier hike. It was raining (this seems to happen a lot on the west coast) and a bit cold. The Fox Glacier Guide company gave us pants, jackets, socks and boots to use for our hike. We walked to the foot of the glacier and then hopped the fence to continue onto the glacier (only paid hikers can get to the glacier). We put on some crampons and hiked on to the ice.
The glacier is pretty awesome, we learned all kinds of new facts about glaciers. We got to spend about 3 hours walking around on the ice, just checking out different things happening on the glacier. I get the sense that since the glacier is constantly changing, so does the tour and all that you get to see.
After our glacier hike, we went to have lunch and do the Lake Matheson hike, which on a clear day offers amazing mirror lake images of the Southern Alps, but it was cloudy after the rain stopped. Still a lovely walk around the lake and a chance to take a few pictures of some cows.
We continued to drive up the West Coast and ended our day in Greymouth. Greymouth is one of those towns that is probably lovely on a sunny day, but they get way to much rain and clouds that sunny days are not too common. We found this awesome restaurant to eat at downtown called The Coalface. Your meal comes out on a lava rock and continues to cook while you eat.
What a week it has been! Up next, pancake rocks and wine tasting!