The 1st December was a big day. We had an early start and a long drive to Fox Glacier via Ship Creek. Probably the biggest expenditure of the whole trip was a heli-hike. A 10minute helicopter ride up onto Fox Glacier with a 3 hour hike on the actual glacier, and then 10 mins back down into Fox Glacier township. I have 160 photos from this.
We camped at Okarito – another bush camp – but with a difference – this one’s got hot showers. The group is convinced that we heard Kiwi here, and we also saw the white heron.
On our way to Punakaiki we stopped at the Bushman’s centre, run by an old guy who most definitely has a sense of humour. He came onto the bus and introduced himself and started off by saying there’s 2 types of possum in NZ – round ones and flat ones. The next 45 minutes basically followed the same type of humour. He did have some possums (so we could see what round ones look like), one which had white fur (not an albino), a Vietnamese pot bellied pig which one of us fed, and the weta experience. This consisted of a small darkened window which you just had to put your face up close to (to see whatever animal was in there) and then you where invited to switch on the light, in case you couldn’t see… the switch activated a jet of water.
He also had a short film of how the New Zealanders managed to reduce the number of deer (itroduced by Scots) in the wild, how they started up the vension industry, and does explain the HUGE numbers of deer being farmed today all over NZ. They actually jump on deer from helicopters. Mad people.
From here we stopped for a short while in Hokitita and then onto Punakaiki.
Punakaiki is home to the Pancake rocks. I wish we’d had time to visit the Visitor Centre, but from what I can make out, the rocks are basically limestone. So me being me I have lots of pics of these, and also the blow-holes, which were pretty cool.