After a good night’s sleep we were up at 6:00 to pack and get ready for the train trip. Terre had breakfast ready along with a good cup of coffee. After breakfast he loaded our luggage in his car and delivered us to the train station.
The KiwiRail cars were all very modern and spacious, with many of the amenities of airline seats. I was surprised by the scenery. It was dry desert steppe on the east side and moist green forested hills on the west side of the Southern Alps, which run up the center of NZ like a spine.
NZ plants are recognizably different from those found in the Pacific Northwest of the US, but similar in the biome niche they fill. For example, we saw forests of podocarp trees instead of firs. Seen from a train window, the landscape looks familiar, but still oddly different.
Got to Greymouth at about 12:30. We picked up our luggage and walked into town. Our first stop was a gadget store where we bought an adapter for our mobile charger. NZ wall plugs are 240. Then we wandered around a bit, trying to reach Mike. It started to rain and was getting cold, so we ducked into a restaurant. Mike arrived about 3:30. He looked so good! Hugs, hellos, a quick stop for groceries, and we started driving to Fox Glacier. Mike has an older silver Subaru wagon – right hand drive, of course. It took 2 1/2 hours of stunning scenery over winding two-lane roads to reach Fox Glacier, a small and very picturesque community of about 300 people.
Mike took us to the Heartland, where we were staying, then out to dinner at a wonderful place called The Last Kitchen. Bob had a piece of fish that he raved about for the rest of our trip. I ordered a salad of roasted vegetables (delicious!) and Mike ordered venison steak. He told us that deer are farmed just like cattle in New Zealand.