The Deep South 

With beaches on my right and snow capped mountains to my left, my bus trekked down the coast. The island is covered with mirror lakes surrounded by picturesque mountains. The lone highway road runs alongside a multitude of waterfalls that actively cut through the mountains. Our bus squeezes onto one lane bridges passing over massive gorges. It sounds like I’m describing a fictional trek through Eden, but no. This is just a bus ride down the coast of the south island of New Zealand.

The south island only has 30,000 of the four million human habitants in New Zealand. The land is ever changing due to earthquakes and volcanic activity (New Zealand is on the ring of fire). The human footprint is minimal. There are no other cars on the road. It’s paradise in the purest form.

The ferry transporting people from north to south island is a three hour scenic journey. Once in the south, I spent a week working my way down from town to town. I was living hard; finishing my epic trip with a bang. I jumped out of a plane in Kaiteriteri, hiked the Franz Josef glacier in a tropical rainforest, and snowboarded three days in Queenstown. We spent a night at Lake Manihapua, which has a small hotel and nothing else. They cooked us a pork roast feast and then we through a themed party in their pub. I took daily hikes through the vast and diverse bush. The week was jam packed, and by the end I felt like the north island happened ages ago.

An iconic shot of the Nelson Lakes

 

One of my many pictures of river valleys

 

We hiked along the scenic coast

These are called pancake rocks because they look like stacks of pancakes. I have no idea how these could have possibly formed.

 

The following few pictures are from my day on the Franz Josef glacier, which is on a mountain overlooking a tropical rainforest. We took a short helicopter ride to the glacier and hiked on it for three hours.

 

The glacier looked like a huge movie set.

 

We walked through narrow tunnels to get around the glacier. Sometimes the ice was bright blue. They gave us boots with spikes so we wouldn’t slip and get seriously injured.

 

The helicopter came back to pick us up after a few hours. We lucked out with the weather. Some people have to spend days in Franz Josef because their trips get cancelled due to clouds that the choppers cannot fly through.

 

If you look between the two mountains in the distance, you can see the Fox glacier.

 

A beautiful mirror lake surrounded by mountains

 

I was thirsty.

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