September 21

It’s a 10am departure from my lie low in Wanaka and a spectacular 6-hour drive to Franz Josef on the west coast of the South Island. I am running out of superlatives for this island as we pass countless waterfalls, emerald lakes and stunning mountain scenery. Once we hit the west coast, the scenery completely changes as lush green rainforest tumbles down from cast hills to wild, deserted beaches. Dundee Amber is with me for most of the journey and makes excellent company before she jumps off at the Fox Glacier, where she is planning a helicopter ride onto the glacier the following day. As for me, it is another night at a YHA, this time with the remarkable backdrop of snow-covered mountains and rainforest encroaching as far as the back door of the hostel. The Cathay Pacific air stewardess and her mum from Shanghai, who I met in Wanaka, are also staying at the hostel and help me knock back a bottle of Hardys Shiraz as Tonga go head to head with Japan