Blogs from Franz Josef, South Island, New Zealand, Oceania

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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef May 10th 2014

Franz Joseph is a tiny little town that’s sprung up to cater for tourists visiting the nearby glacier of the same name, though the ice is now retreating and according to most estimates will be gone within 30 years. Given that it’s been there for tens of thousands, this is a genuinely alarming thought. I had a moment of panicky leftwing guilt at the realisation that I’d just flown, and then driven, a very long way to see a glacier that I am now appalled is retreating due to global warming. I resolved that I was going change plans and do the regular glacier hike instead of the helicopter hike, because using an extravagantly fuel inefficient mode of transportation to go look at a disappearing glacier seems faintly ridiculous. Unfortunately it turned out that the bottom ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef May 7th 2014

The Mauri name for New Zealand is "Land of the Long White Cloud". I might have gone with "Land of the Long Wet Shower", but I can definitely see what they were getting at. Clouds are a prominent feature of the landscape here. They don't impassively form a backdrop like normal clouds. They morph and hover weirdly like UFOs. Cling in clumps to the sides of mountains like fake cobwebs at Halloween. Curl round your feet like dry ice at a school disco. The day after the kayaking incident I drove 350km from Milford Sound back to Te Anu then on through Queenstown to Lake Wanaka, via Arrowtown and Cardona. As far as whole days spent driving go, it was a winner. The road from Arrowtown to Cardona, in particular, necessitated stopping every 10 minutes to ... read more
Arrowtown

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef February 27th 2014

On arrival in Franz Josef we were told you could no longer walk up the glacier from the bottom after previous avalanches had killed people making it unsafe. The option they provided was to do the 'Ice Explorer' where you get a helicopter up to a safer part of the glacier and explore all of the caves and cracks etc from up there. However, it was $299 for the privilege so having already overspent we didn't do it. We chilled out that afternoon and it was the girls turn to cook so they made fajitas for us all. We again had pre drinks in the rooms and us lads were pretty smashed by the time we went down to the bar. It was a fluorescent party that night so loads of people were dressed in neon ... read more
Thunder Creek Falls
Franz Joseph Glacier
Lake Matheson

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef February 25th 2014

I woke up in Queenstown around 8am exhausted but without a car and my schedule now is controlled by the bus, which I must catch at 9:15. I found a great seat on the back of the bus and sat back to let someone do the driving while I drink in the scenery. This is supposed to be one of the most scenic drives in NZ and maybe even the world! It doesn't disappoint. We passed by the river where the first bungee jump took place, through beautiful vineyards in the Otago region, Wanaka, a sweet town that is supposed to be a quieter version of Queenstown, through the Haast pass with its many waterfalls and start up along the west coast. All the while the driver provided excellent commentary, most of which I have promptly ... read more
Vineyard in Otago Region
Thunder Creek Falls on Haast Pass
Franz Josef Glacier

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef February 19th 2014

Just said „Hello“ to Franz Josef (named for the Emperor of Austria-Hungary). To get to Franz you need to take a helicopter that costs at least 350 NZD. So I decided to visit only the edge of Franz glacier and to see what he is all about. It was marvellous crossing the areas that are not permitted for tourists. These areas are in danger because there are hazards like rocks falling apart.... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef December 14th 2013

We headed off this morning to have a walk up to the glacier, but stopped off on the way at Lake Matheson. This was a lovely little place where most of the postcards show the reflection of Mount Cook in the lake. We had breakfast in the cafe there as well and had a look around the gift shop and bought some postcards to send home. It was this morning that we noticed we were missing a little side window from the sleeping berth above the drivers side. Rhyds driving got the blame for that, but to be honest we don't know how or where we'd lost it, and surprised that we'd not noticed it fly off! We had a walk as far up to the glacier as we could go, and the sheer size was ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef December 4th 2013

Long drive ahead as we are heading off to the Franz Josef glacier, on our way to Queenstown. We set off at 8.50. First stop brumby bakery. I noticed Nelson had one and it's where we picked up the cheese and vegemite rolls in Byron bay. So did the same again for a picnic breakfast enroute. Most people remember scenery, we remember bakeries! We headed out along the good old state highway 6 initially retracing our steps from the day before. After an hour we stopped at a lookout point for breakfast, though we weren't too impressed by the view (what do you think?) - think we may be getting a bit choosy with our views. On our way down we passed by Brunner gorge and decided to take a break as my guidebook informed me ... read more
Breakfast stop
Bruner gorge Swing Bridge
Lindsay going solo

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef November 24th 2013

Sunday November 24th, 2013. Franz Josef Glacier & West Coast Wildlife Centre, Franz Josef, South Island, New Zealand. After breakfast we walked down the road to the West Coast Wildlife Centre where they incubate the eggs of the rare Okarito Brown Kiwi. We purchased two different tickets - one for D to see the 3 kiwi's in the exhibit and one for M to see the exhibit plus the "backstage pass" which she would use later this afternoon. The Okarito Brown Kiwi was first thought to be a sub-species of other brown kiwi. However in 1994, with advances in DNA and genetics, these Kiwi were discovered to be an entirely new species. They were given the name "Rowi". They used to be found over much of the lower North Island and Upper South Island. Now they ... read more
05 M at the Waterfall on the Glacier Valley Walk
15 Franz Josef Glacier
10 M at Franz Josef Glacier

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef November 23rd 2013

Saturday November 23nd, 2013. Okarito, South Island, New Zealand Over dinner last night we had discussed our plans for today. D wanted to go kayaking on the lagoon in Okarito and M wanted to see the New Zealand White Heron (also in Okarito) and to book a safari to see Kiwi's in the wild. The Kiwi's found here are the very rare Okarito Brown Kiwi. This meant we would need more time so we booked another night in the hostel. After breakfast of toast, wheatbix, juice and tea/coffee we strolled down to the Franz Josef Tourist Office. In here we met a very nice girl from Leeds who explained where we could find the Kayaks in Okarito and also where we could find Iain - her mate who ran the Kiwi Safaris. We bought a walking ... read more
Royal Spoonbills Okarito
Kayaking Okarito Lagoon
White Heron NZ

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef November 20th 2013

Après 2 semaines vraiment chargés, pour pas mal la première fois, nous avons un bon bout de route a faire avant de se rendre a notre nouveau but a atteindre. Lors de mon dernier message j'expliquais comment nous étions au nord-est de l'île du sud, et bien maintenant nous devions nous rendre sur la côte ouest, un peu passé le milieu de l'île du sud, ce qui veut dire plus d'une journée de voiture avant de s'y rendre. Mais nous sommes fait fort, la vie est belle, tout comme la température d'ailleurs, c'est donc quelque chose qui s'est bien fait. Cela veut aussi dire que pour la première fois, je vois la mer de Tasmanie, fidèle a mon habitude, on s'arrête le temps d'un kata face a l'océan (la mer dans ce cas), Sanchin encore une ... read more




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