Wow! So much stuff to write that I really don't know where to start. Not a bad thing I suppose as it's all been good stuff!
Guess I should start where the last post left off, so here goes! Met up with my ride to Bodie's Party at the CDC as planned, where we somehow managed to fit 5 (none of us small) adults and their gear (along with some that came with the car) into the back of a little Mazda Familia station wagon. We were quickly on the road heading towards Motueka, with a plan to stop at some hot springs along the way. By the time evening rolled around, we found ourselves stopped at the Maruia Hot Springs, where we were able to purchase a family pass for $5 each (we are ice family, but I suppose that is stretching things a tad...) The hot springs were nice, but smelled a bit too sulphury (new word!?) for me, so I ended up just hanging around in there for maybe 20-30 minutes, then going for a little walk to just soak in the green and humidity that had been in such short supply in Antarctica. We then drove a little further down the road to a little pull-off and made camp for the night.
The next morning, we had a relatively short drive from our campsite to Murchinson, where we picked up some groceries for the party, then on to Bodie's Parents place! There were a bunch of other ice people at the party, so after a whole bunch of greetings and such, we got rolling with picking fresh fruit and berries from the orchard, then moved on to cooking pizzas in the purpose-built firebrick oven that Bodie built there about a year ago. Great stuff! Had a fun evening visiting, eating, and playing Kubb (an old viking game involving throwing sticks.) Saturday was much of the same, but instead of pizzas we had a grill out including all sorts of sausages, meats, fresh veggies, etc. Saturday evening there was a call from my friend Clair (aka Goldberry) from Motueka saying that she had made it that far and would need either directions or a ride to get to the party. So, since we needed to get some groceries anyhow, Trent, Summer, and I drove up to Motueka and picked up Clair.
Sunday morning Clair an I sat down and decided on a plan for the next week or two of traveling. Rather than heading straight to Fiordland, we modified the plan a little and decided to give Stewart Island a try first as it'll be getting cold there soonish so we figured it would be best to start from the farthest south we want to go, then work north from there. There was a big whitewater festival finishing up in Murchinson (which is on the way,) so we decided to head over there first and see what happened next. Made it to Murchinson, but things were pretty much done, so we continued on to Westport for the night. Cooked up a nice Mexican dinner at the hostel in Westport that made some good leftovers for lunch today!
Today's been a day on the road. Made it from Westport down to Franz Joesph Glacier, where we're spending the night. Finally made it to a computer kiosk that isn't rediculously expensive (surprising as everything else in this town is,) and I've got enough time to throw together this post and even upload a few pictures!