After taking some time to explore the boulders at Castle Hill, we hopped back in the car to continue our trek toward the Franz Josef Glacier, where we spent our first night in New Zealand. For those who are interested, this post covers the stretch of road shown on the map below.
Castle Hill to Franz Josef Glacier:
At some point shortly after Arthur's Pass Peter was getting really tired. Like I mentioned in my previous post, we took an overnight flight from Melbourne and then Peter immediately started driving when we arrived in the morning, so it was a long day for him. We decided to pull over for awhile and he took a half hour nap while I poked around and took some pictures. This was the first time either of us had ever had to pull over to rest while driving long distances, but better safe than sorry. The roads in New Zealand are often narrow and winding, so it's not as if you can hit cruise and sit back. One piece of advice I have for anyone planning their own New Zealand road trip is to factor in lots of extra driving time. You'll want to take it easy on the roads and the speed limit is pretty low anyway, so it takes much longer to get from one place to another than you'd expect. Factoring in extra time allows for scenic stops and quick hikes as well as a short nap if necessary. Alternately, you could travel with someone who also knows how to drive on the left side of the road and switch off ;). Sorry, Peter!
Franz Josef Glacier
We checked into our hotel around 3pm and headed straight for the glacier to make sure we got our hike in before dark.
Finally whipped out the selfie stick!
After finishing the glacier hike, we headed back to to get ready for dinner. We stayed in a cute little hotel with the awesome view.
It should be noted that everything, including a relatively cheap hotel room, is extremely clean in New Zealand. When we go on relaxing beach vacations, we like to spend more on the accommodation than when we are on activity-packed trips. On this vacation, we changed locations nearly every day and really only used the hotels to sleep, so I tried to find somewhat inexpensive places to stay. Sometimes this plan totally backfires and you end up in a semi-dodgy place that looks nothing like the marketing pictures, but thankfully the opposite happened on this trip!
We spent the rest of the evening eating dinner and sipping a few drinks at a nearby restaurant before heading to bed early.