365 photos [558 - 563]

More photos from mine and Soph's Christmas trip around the South Island.

Wanaka → Franz Josef

Saturday's hitch to Franz Josef was something else. After a brief stint with retired minister Neil and his excellent dog Ti, we were picked up by Lawrence, a water scientist and general hero from Invercargill. Lawrence took it upon himself to transform the normally 3-hour journey to Franz into a 8-hour guided tour with frequent stops and huge off-road detours. He took us to beaches, forests and rivers normally invisible to the tourist trail, fed us amazing local food, and pressured us into jumping from bridges. The whole time we jokingly accused him of being a serial killer whilst harbouring secret doubts that he wasn't, because normal people don't treat strangers this kindly. His catchphrases included: "you guys wanna go swimming?", "you guys wanna beer?", "you guys wanna drive for a bit so I can cycle down this hill?" and "where is my axe?". We love you Lawrence.

Franz Josef

Navigating a giant crevasse during a glacier hike. The blue ice was beautiful.

Franz Josef → Punakaiki

Coal miner and hot rod enthusiast Daryl's Ford Thunderbird was the most impressive of seven rides transporting us up the west coast to the tiny resort town of Punakaiki.


Christmas Day was spent on a rainforest-enclosed beach, a slight contrast from the snow of last year.

Punakaiki → Christchurch

Only upon returning to Christchurch after hundreds of miles of incident-free hitchhiking did we experience our first traffic accident, when our bus headbutted a van Burnout style. No one was hurt (somehow).


My camera passed away on Thursday after close to six years of unwavering service. He was a gift from my parents on my eighteenth birthday and has taken tens of thousands of photos since, including the huge majority from this blog. Weekly photos have been suspended until further notice as a mark of respect.