We still woke-up decently early the next morning; the huts are small and communal enough that once the first group of people wakes-up it starts a chain reaction as the noise of their packing rousts other people. Beth was not up for more hiking, but we had hours before our pick-up, so I left my pack and hiked about an hour round-trip to a really cool swing-bridge. When I got back we had breakfast and then headed down to the beach to wait for our taxi. Despite it being around 9:15am, the beach was filled with activity as taxis showed-up to drop off day hikers and kayakers. While we missed the one from our company, we talked to the captain of another taxi and discovered that the companies cross-honor reservations and that he was about to head back to Marahau in an empty taxi. We jumped aboard and had a quick run down the coast which had us in town in less than a half-hour. Here we got to experience one of the fun events that we had missed by taking a taxi from outside town on our way out to Abel Tasmin. In order to get the taxi out of the water, they backed a tractor with a trailer hitch on it down the jetty into the water. The boat then drives up onto the trailer bed and is strapped in and the tractor drives up out of the water. We road down the road in the boat, being pulled along by a tractor, all the way back to the taxi headquarter, which happened to be about a 5 minute walk from where our car was parked. In all ways, this taxi adventure had proved a worthwhile endeavor. We were now off the trail hours ahead of our original time and just a quick walk from our car.
The rest of the day was rather mundane. We drove south and then drove south some more. We stopped at a pretty pullout for lunch and ate the last of our peanut butter and jelly. And then drove some more. A bit after 5pm we arrived in the little town of Franz Joseph–named after the glacier which it sits at the base of. We checked-in to our hostel (Montrose Backpackers, coincidentally the same place that my sister and I had stayed on our trip 5 years ago) and took glorious showers. We were both tired and Beth’s feet hurt so we decided to have an early dinner. We ate at Blue Ice Cafe, a place that I had eaten at previously and really liked. Dinner was green-lipped mussels in a cream sauce for a starter and then fish-and-chips with salad for our entree. Dessert was a Grand Marnier Chocolate Mud Cake. We got a couple different local beers, including one that we really liked, the Monsoon Strong Pilsner. Monsoon is up in Christchurch, so we’ll see if we can work a visit there in when we swing through there later in the town. Post-dinner it was bedtime, since we were waking up at 5:45am the next morning to drive down to the town of Fox Glacier.