On our first day in New Zealand, we woke up early to catch a bus that took us to Greymouth where our Stray bus (a popular form of transportation for backpackers in NZ) picked us up. Typical us, we WAY overestimated the temperatures in New Zealand. We expected temps in the 20s, but boy were we wrong! It was 0 degrees celsius when we woke up, so in Greymouth we went to a clothing store and bought ourselves some puffy coats to keep us warm. The bus then arrived and we began to meet some really nice and awesome young travelers. Everyone we met was traveling for months on end all over the world. It was awesome to hear all the places they have been!
The bus took us all to Franz Josef for two nights where we stayed in the Rainforest Retreat hostel. This was our first hostel ever, so we were happy to have had some really sweet roommates!
We had an early night and woke up the next morning to catch the 8:45 am shuttle to go for a hike. It took us to trails that led to Lake Wombat, views of the Franz Josef glacier, and Peter’s Pool. Lake Wombat was beautiful and the hike up was so exotic. It was a fresh green rainforest hike.
We made our way over to Peter’s Pool which is a small pond that has a beautiful reflection of the glacier and mountains. The pool is also right next to the trail to Franz Josef, so we hiked there next. It was absolutely beautiful. We felt like we were dreaming or on another planet. New Zealand continued to seem so unreal to us every step of the way. We crossed paths with a lot of our fellow Stray travelers as well. It was such a nice morning for a hike once the sun was out (we were able to take off our puffy coats and jackets).
After such a tiring hike, we treated ourselves to a nice lunch at a cafe followed by a delicious chocolate cupcake at a bakery in the town of Franz Josef. Afterwards, we rested in the mineral hot pools that are filled with water from the glacier and mountains. It was a well-earned rest and we enjoyed every bit of it (we were tempted to splurge and get a massage, but we resisted).