Day 6 – Queenstown to Franz Joseph

Up early again today to repack, eat & walk in the morning darkness to the bus stop in the centre of town. We have booked the InterCity bus which is an 8 hour journey as we decided it would be cheaper & more restful than hiring a car & driving. It was a good day to travel as it rained all day. 

We stopped for all of 10min in Wanaka to drop people off & pick up others. At first glance it looks like a place I’d like to go back & visit. 

Our driver then took us to a lunch spot at 11am where we stopped for 1/2hr. It wasn’t any place memorable just a hot soup & a break from the bus & our driver’s incessant talking. We got a new driver & a 10 min leg stretch at Thunder Creek falls, a 28m high waterfall that tumbles into the Haast River. 

Our new driver barely spoke a dozen words the whole trip & also took us to a lunch spot at around 1pm where we had another 1/2hr stop. This time we stopped at a salmon farm so of course I had to try the salmon chowder which was pretty good. They also offered a hot lemon ginger & honey tea that was just what I needed. 

It was a pleasant enough journey with lovely sights, lots of single lane bridges, some snoozing & my kobo to read. 

When we arrived in Franz Joseph, however, we were in for a shock. It seems we have booked a hotel in the middle of nowhere – the Oasis hotel. So here we sit in our lovely room with the fake fire place keeping us warm but without transport and the rain pouring down outside while we wonder how to make the most of the next few days. 

The gobspell of Graeme…..

So, get a bus they say, it will be nice they say!

Well, guess what? It was OK. Better than driving for sure. We got to see what the driver usually doesn’t – scenery. Mountains in fog, Waterfalls, trees, rivers, trees, waterfalls, mountains in fog, and in a brief moment of visual clarity; some mountain tops with a bit of white dust! But the biggest thing of all, we got the front seats so we can watch how close we come to no longer being on the exceedingly narrow bridges and road!

This driver was good at his art though, both hands on the round thing, breaks applied on the straights (as he explains this to his now captive audience), gears down before the bends, smooth gear changes at all times, no obvious distractions, no change in vocal qualities, no real engagement in sharing local interests, no clue to the fact that out of politeness I couldn’t say to him “for the love of anaesthetics, shut the f@$k up!!”

Talk about monotone. This dude is the most mono of monotonous monotony and prime monomer of monomonom! 4 bloody hours of it!!!

The afternoon driver… well now, wasn’t he just a wee barrel of fun. He kept me guessing at the probabilities of death all the way with his one hand on the wheel and t’other a tappin’ and slappin’ his thigh to what seems to be an ear worm, a Scottish tune perchance, a merry little highland job as he used the curbing as a metronome and the swaying as rhythm.

But I do take my hat off to the man, he hardly said “Boo”! None of this trying to dazzle us with his superior knowledge of things, No… and we can thank our respective Gods or Idols for that. But he was the most helpful of gentlemen in assisting everyone to their accommodations, including Us! And as it turns out, we’re now 5km out of town in the middle of no place in particular in front of a warm heater listening to rain falling.

Tomorrow another adventure awaits.


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