We woke during the night to torrential rain hammering on the roof of the van – it was going to be a wet day and what better than a bit of quad biking to really get wet and muddy and make the most of the puddles and rivers!
Laura was still struggling with the grazes on her palms so opted to be a passenger on the back of my quad – which highlights one of the qualities I admire about Laura – her bravery!
We were the only couple to book onto the session, so it was just us and the guide – a local girl who was really speedy and I wrestled with my quad to keep up maximising time in the water and mud at the same time. It was a blast and half way through the trip we stopped in the river bed of the glacial river that originates from the glacier. The guide talked us through the geography and geology of the area and really highlighted how much the people here care about the environment and are passionate about protecting it, and really, how proud they are of it too.
I feel envious of them for that, I don’t have the same pride about Reading, UK. It seems hard and unfair to compare (although everyone I meet has heard of it due to the Festival!).
Looking out across the mountains and glacier I can only dream about how it would be to wake up to that view every day but before I can get too melancholy, it’s time to jump back on the quad and scare Laura senseless as I career between boulders and hammer through rivers.
By the time we leave Franz Josef, the clouds had cleared and the Sun was shining and the buzz of the helicopters had signalled that the Glacier was open for visitors again.
Hitting the road, and heading for Fox glacier a short distance away, we stopped at Lake Matheson en-route for a gentle walk around it’s shores.
This lake is famous for the iconic image that is used in most New Zealand tourism brochures, and shows a number of peaks, including Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman, reflected in the waters of the lake. We tried our best to replicate this but the clouds had other ideas, but feeling pleased with the results of our photographic exploits nonetheless we headed to Fox to sample one of the many restaurants that seemed to have sprung up in this tiny little village. We headed for The Last Kitchen, the food was amazing.
With a little night cap in the Cook and Saddle bar on the way back to the van, the day ended with us feeling incredibly contented and relaxed (nothing to do with the bottle of wine and some beers).