Spending Christmas in New Zealand wasn’t the same, but I still had a great time. A couple of days before we decked out our van with some decorations. Most of the time the tinsel was in the way more than it was worth having around, but it along with the Christmas music put us in the holiday spirit…as much as you can when there are signs of summer every where and no snow.
Our tour leader let us know that there would be a “dress to impress” party on Christmas Eve. We also all wanted to exchange gifts. That meant that every stop for the few days leading up to Christmas we were jumping off the bus to find interesting accessories for the party and unique gifts.
We arrived in Franz Josef the day before Christmas Eve. We were supposed to go for a heli hike Christmas Eve morning, but it started pouring (which made me feel like I was right at home). However, there isn’t much to do in Franz Josef, so we went to a wildlife conservation centre, a ride/walk to Franz Josef Glacier, ate lunch, and then Roxanne (from Australia) and I went to the Glacier Hot Pools.
Franz Josef Glacier
Because our heli hike was cancelled, our tour leader decided to take us to Franz Josef Glacier even though it was his day off. I mistakenly thought we’d go for a ride, step outside the van, and take some photos. Because I’d been sick, it sounded perfect to me. Instead we got there and had to go for a two hour walk. Did I mention it was pouring rain? None of us was prepared and we got drenched. Still it was an adventure and I enjoyed most of it.
It was so wet that even though I carried my nice camera and tripod the entire way I never took it out of my bag. My underwater camera came in very handy.
Glacier Hot Pools
Roxanne and I both kind of thought the hot pools would be natural, but they were basically swimming pools at different temperatures (36, 38, and 40 celsius). We started in the 36 (97 f) and worked our way up, but frankly the 40 (104 f) was way too hot for me so we spent most of our time in the 38 (100 f). It was such a nice break from the pouring rain and cool temperatures.
**I really need to get ready for hotter temps. A friend I met on this trip is back in Australia already and she said it was 45 celsius (113 f) at her parents house outside of Sydney. I’m seriously going to melt there.
Christmas Eve “Dress to Impress” Party
After the events of the day, we all got ready for our “Dress to Impress” party. We really didn’t know what to expect, but we knew at least the 20 of us would be dressed in silly Christmas outfits. Everyone looked great and even though we were having a good time, most of us called it an early evening. Traveling can be exhausting.