***Note - sorry about the funky arrangement of pictures and stuff, I'm generally writing these posts from rather spendy computer kiosks, so the priority goes toward getting things posted before making them look pretty - might be able to do something about that later, but no promises***
Tuesday was spent mostly on the road between Franz Jopseph Glacier and Queenstown. We did go on a little dayhike up to the glacier, which was pretty neat. It looked quite different from the glaciers I'd seen in Antarctica, much smaller and dirtier near the end. Also the crevasses and cracks were much more visible as it's a bit too warm (at least near the end where we were) for snow caps to last. Fun stuff. Made it into Queenstown in time to do some research on getting down to Stewart Island and get supplies. We opted to get a package deal for a bus ride from Queenstown to Bluff (south of Invercargill) and a ferry ride from there to Oban (town on Stewart Island) for about $95 each, seemed like a better deal than hitching all the way down to Bluff, staying there for the night, then catching the ferry. Stayed at the Downtown Backpackers (can't recall the exact name, but think that's close,) which turned out to be kind of a dump and not too pleasant, although it was relatively cheap lodging for the location. Apparently the floor we were on had flooded fairly recently, so it smelled funny, and the kitchen was a bit dirty. Oh well, we made it through I suppose.
Today we got up early and realized that we had made a small miscalculation with our morning plans. Last night, we bought some eggs and stuff for making a real breakfast and left them in the kitchen for cooking before our 6:45am departure. Unfortunately, the kitchen was closed and locked until 6:30, which didn't exactly leave time for doing any cooking and eating before walking over to the pickup point. Fortunately, we found a 24 hour conveniencce store just around the block that had some pastries and yogurt for breakfast, and Clair managed to run into the hostel kitchen and grab the eggs and stuff for using tomorrow. One thing that's sortof a mixed blessing about cities down here is that they're not 24 hour operations like most decent sized towns in the states. If you're on the street at 5am or late sunday night, there's practically nothing happening outside. Anyways, we made it to the bus, rode down to Bluff, caught the ferry, then made it to Stewart Island. The bus ride was nice, although I spent much of it catching up on sleep that I missed last night at the hostel. The ferry ride was also cool, it was a little choppy, but apparently not anywhere near as bad as that crossing gets at times. Have only been on the island for about 2 hours now, initial impressions are that it's very wet and muddy in the woods. We're either going to be heading out on a tramp tomorrow, or it's looking increasingly likely that we'll rent a sea kayak and go out for a couple days paddling and camping around the island. Will post more later, but my time here is just about up!