Magic Bus is perhaps one of the most fun ways to travel through New Zealand. Teresa and I got on at Nelson and promptly started talking to our fellow ten travellers (numbers vary each day). There was various stops throughout the day to see things, such as food and toilet breaks and the more exciting tourist stops where we followed a trail that led through rainforest and ended on a beach where blue pengions can occasionally be seen, and a stop where we saw fur seals from up a mountain as they lounged around on the cliffs below, and another stop to see the exciting pancake rocks and blowholes. It was just really fun! We saw a Weka bird which came to investigate our driver (not a Kiwi, though it looks similar) and saw the most stunning scenery you can imagine. Mountains, plains, clouds, rivers of the most stunning turquoise colour, it's just gorgeous here!
That night we ended up in Greymouth and most of us all got put in one big room. There were free bakery goods in the kitchen (lunch, dinner and breakfast!) and then we headed off on a brewery tour of Monteith's brewery, very fun and informative. It ended in a tasting of all the seven different types of beer they have (I gave mine all away to the boys we were travelling with as I don't like beer) and then we got a free barbeque dinner in the local pub. They'd also put on a karaoke machine just for us, so later on in the night we were all pretty much forced to go and sing a karaoke song. Some of the boys did a very bad rendition of Madonna's "Like a Virgin". One being German and the other being Dutch, it was pronounced "Like a Wirgin". Hilarity ensued. For some reason, Teresa, Yoshi (Japanese) and I won the competition with Dancing Queen. Another free jug of beer!
Next day another early morning wake up and then off to Franz Josef where we said goodbye to our travelling companions for then and did a half day hike up the Franz Josef glacier. It. Was. Stunning! It was so amazing! It's huge, so when you're an hour hike away it looks like it's only ten minutes away The valley to get there is full of stones that the glacier pushed there when it last advanced and there is a pretty river too with run-off water. We got hiking boots and crampons so it was pretty easy to walk on the ice. The guide hacked steps into the glacier so we could walk up and then walked us around the top and through various crevasses and under roofs of ice and through massive cracks in the ice with hastily made footholds. It was pretty awesome! the ice was so blue in the cracks, it was gorgeous! And once you've made it all the way to the top, you have to go all the way down again...
(more later, internet time about to run out....)