After the disappointment of not being able to raft today, we decide to try the jet-boating anyway. First we head into town and buy a few items from an aboriginal shop. One thing we have noticed about New Zealand is that people like to talk - the woman behind the desk is much the same and, although it gives us quite an interesting insight into the aboriginal culture, we need to get moving.
Unluckily for us, it is raining too heavily for the jetboat to run so we decide to head on our way to Franz Josef and take a more scenic route over the Crown Range road, the highest road in NZ. It heads through the small gold-mining town of Cardrona and pass the bra fence. Yes, this significant attraction is a fence on the edge of the road that is covered with hundreds of bras ... don't ask me why or how but it's certainly a strange addition to the beautiful scenery and I'm a little worried that Fran is driving at this point.
Wanaka is being touted as the 'New Queensland' but we didn't have much time or see much reason to stay there so we headed on towards the coast. Fran pulls off the road to take a photograph and immediately we are bogged in the ground. The van's not going anywhere. Luckily, a couple with a 4WD spot us straightaway and offer their assistance and drag us out of the mud. It was very kind of them but I couldn't help feeling they had done this many times before ... the guy was very keen that his wife and I stood out of the way as he pulled the van because the rope could 'snap like a bungee!'. Perhaps they were serial campervan rescuers.
Back on our way and we make a brief stop at the bizarre sight of Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World
We don't pay to go in the 2 level maze or the illusion rooms, but the gift shop and array of puzzles on tables in the coffee shop is enough to amuse us for a small while.
We travel round lakes and over the Haast Pass towards the coast. It's raining very heavily and we're travelling alongside torrential rivers and waterfalls. We stop off to view one quite disappointing waterfall, but apart from that we are steaming to the coast.
By now, it's dark and the route along the coast doesn't hold many sights but can be quite windy. This is NZ's main western coastal route and my new game is how long I can leave my full beams on before I see another car. The record was 18km!
When we arrive in Franz Josef township, we decide to park up on the road and take our chances ... a nice spot behind the Kiwi Express bus will do. Then we head to a restaurant and treat ourselves to some fish and rack of lamb and a good bottle of wine. It's really delicious. Soon the chef comes out and talks to us telling us how he enjoys the remoteness of the location and rarely travels more than 40km away.
We head to the upstairs bar for a while before retiring in anticipation of a long day of glacier trekking ahead.