On day three of the excursion, VNTRbirds were up at 7am. Coming out of the tent, TUB &O realized they picked a great site because the view was incredible with more mountains and lakes. Unfortunately TUB couldn’t stick around for too long because a 3 hour drive was ahead of them to Franz Josef. Heading south, there are absolutely no radio stations. Trying to listen to Kelley’s iPOD without any speakers ended up being a fail and the crew just dealt with the silence, which was always broken by talking and pointing out crazy views along the road.


The drive was a good one and TUB &O were in Franz Josef in no time. Passing by the Rainforest Retreat, that even had tree houses for rent, VNTRbirds decided that tonight would be the night they stay in a hostel, since the trip to Fox glacier wasn’t going to happen. According to the DOC, the drive from Franz to Wanaka has the best scenery around and with the original plan TUB &O would be driving through it at night and would miss everything! Well, this couldn’t happen so Fox was sacrificed and the crew welcomed the soft crimson sheets and bunk beds of the hostel.


Eating a lunch of PB&J on the floor of their room, the trio built up their energy to go hike to the FJ Glacier and was soon in the car again to conquer the trail. It should take about an hour and a half to go and return from the glacier, naturally, TUB took at least twice as long getting distracted by everything around. Starting off, the whole trail is rocky, flat and completely open. The glacier was in view the entire walk and just kept getting bigger and bigger as the three continued on. The opening was barricaded with walls of mountains that had amazing waterfalls flowing off of them. TUB &O were able to walk right up to them and get splashed by the mountain’s runoff. These waterfalls line the trail down the glacier.




Soon there was a small wooden bridge (NOT like the gold mines) to go over a little stream. This stream quickly grew into a river farther along the path. Apparently, there can be rapid flooding in this area and VNTRbirds had to keep their wits about them. As the trio got closer to this enormous glacier, a Kea bird came out to say hi to his fellow birds. The huge green mountain parrot parked himself on a large rock and started showboating for all the tourists. Jaime snapping photos and Kelley videoing him, he let out a call for goodbyes and flew off into the distance.


Finally, TUB &O made it to the barrier before the glacier. Unless one is in a ‘guided tour’ (that costs about $150) you can’t actually go onto the glacier because it is far too unstable and lacks safety. So TUB &O just sat back on a boulder and enjoyed the view, being secretly jealous of all the guided tours dressed in red passing by (later on in the trip, TUB found out that a few of their friends actually did jump the ropes and climbed on the glacier and had crazy pictures to prove it).



Making their way back, the girls started climbing up a rock wall and Oliver followed suit. Hanging out for a few more minutes enjoying the location, the birds walked back to the car ready to walk around town. The funny thing is, is that Franz Josef is pretty much 4 roads that make a square. No one lives in Franz Josef it’s just a tourist hot spot because of the glacier. Searching out an ATM it had a sign posted on it that read “This is the ONLY ATM in Franz Josef the next one is in Wanaka”. Wanaka is a couple of hours away from this town, so TUB &O made sure to get some cash out then and there. Going into the traditional souvenir shops the girls came out with a few knick-knacks for family.


The next item on the list for the crew was FJ’s natural glacier hot pools. With only a $23 fee with unlimited time the birds were so there to relax their little muscles. Inside, is really outside but just enclosed. With the décor of real trees and plants, the pools were completely soothing. There are 3 different pools that are quite large, measuring up to the temperatures of 36, 38, and 40 degrees Celsius (96, 100 and 104 F). TUB &O milked out their time there until hunger once again took over.
The great thing about the Rainforest Retreat is that they have their own bar and restaurant, and by booking with them you can get a great meal for just $12. Another plus is that after the wonderful hot showers were through, TUB &O also made it for happy hour with $4 draughts and house wines. VNTRbirds and Oliver were stoked on the change from Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches to a hot and served meal accompanied by some wine.
Once the meal was through and the trio was satisfied the party followed to TUB’s room and the night ended with some card games, brews and laughs. Everybody was siked on their bed, but was dreading the early morning coming. Tomorrow would be a long drive to Queenstown and yes the awaited BUNGY JUMPING!

Remember that the rest of Jaime’s brilliant photography of the trip and all the trips can see seen on the right side of the site under ‘TUBphotography’. Please keep supporting TUB &telling your friends to ‘like’ us on Facebook &or follow on Twitter.