Fragments from the Australia Diaries 2000 (part 30) - NZ Franz Josef

Brrr, it's cold in here

The Kiwi Experience always like to make a stop at a pub/hotel in pretty much the middle of nowhere. It's got photos on the wall of every Kiwi Experience tour group that has ever stopped there, yes we checked and spotted friends on the wall! We all stay in the hotel and have the pub to ourselves for a cross-dressing party.
hats off to the pub stop
Sounds horrific but it's actually great craic. They provide the clothes (or you can bring your own, if you’re that way inclined). It was fine for the girls we just had to put on ties and a jacket and were all set. The blokes, however, went to town on it, they all made this huge effort, it was funny, funny days. It was great to just cut loose for one night as we’ve been having choca days.

Let’s see: archery, shooting, knife throwing, axe throwing, bush walking, panning for gold. (I kid you not, it kept us out of trouble...and you get to keep the gold!)

The icing (harhar) on the cake however was a helicopter ride to the top of the Franz Josef glacier. Ice hiking is SO insanely cool. You jump out of the helicopter, ok, you don't jump, they land it safely and you ease yourself off, but jumping sounds more impressive. They tog you out in all the gear; socks, boots, crampons, jacket, hiking poles, until you make the SAS look ill equipped. A once in a life time experience.

The guide told us to walk like John Wayne to prevent our crampons from locking. I wasn't particularly paying attention to him, eh hello, I'm on a glacier, I just got off a helicopter, my mind was combusting, I couldn't focus on pifilling procedures. After a while the thoughts of 'what the hell is a crampon?' entered my head, on cue said crampons locked and I went crashing along the hard ice.

Crampons are iron spikes fastened to shoes to prevent slipping. When wearing crampons you walk with your feet wide apart, otherwise the right crampon may 'catch' on the left crampon (or indeed vice versa) and you abruptly fall head over cramponed heels.

Drama follows me wherever I go. The long and the short of it is...the knee didn’t heal quickly so I ended up back in hospital in Sydney again diagnosed this time with a chipped knee cap and a torn ligament.

But before the hospital shenanigans, I had a plane to jump out of...

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