After our three day backpacking trip, we headed to Franz Josef where we spent the next day kayaking and doing a short hike to the Franz Josef glacier. Not everyone joined on the hike since we were all worn down by this point and it was also raining. Even the guides said “at a certain point, you just get closer to the glacier so let us know if you want to turn back.” I told myself “how often are you in New Zealand?!” and rallied. I was rewarded when the rain ended midway through the walk. Even though it was a short walk, I really enjoyed the variety of scenery along the way.
The next day, we headed up to Hokitika for our first views of the beach and some jade/craft shopping. Then we went on one last hike through the lush forest, complete with views from the cliffside. It was another “Plan B” as the original hike was closed but it may have been my favorite. Finally, we ended up in Punakaiki where we spent our last night.
The trip ended with a 4 hour drive back to the airport, with a stop in Springfield for a view of the donut statue and lunch. It was so sad to say goodbye to everyone, and the journey home was quite long.
All in all, this trip lived up to my wildest expectations. Great people, incredible scenery, and a chance to just disconnect. My favorite part though, was how excited I was to come back home to see my family/friends/coworkers. It is a great feeling when you realize your “normal” life is pretty dang special.