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Published: February 18th 2017
Today we arose early for our helicopter ride to the top of the Franz Joseph glacier. What a beautiful view of the highest peaks in the Southern Alps, with the highest being Mt. Cook at 12,500 feet. This is summer in New Zealand and the mountains are still snow capped. Most interesting is the Franz Joseph glacier is a warm weather glacier, starting at the mountain top and coming down the mountain into a tropical rain forest.
The glacier exchanges itself every few years advancing down the valley and then retreat in back up the valley. Below the valley is a wasteland created by the glacier as it moved up and down the valley based on the snowfall they receive in the winter. Due to global warming, for those of us that believe it is real, the glacier has steadily retreated back up the valley.
One of the interesting discoveries in the south island is that due to the movement of the geological plates running from north to south, New Zealand experiences thousands of earthquakes each year, most of which are small and cannot be detected.
Later in the day we traveled
by bus north on the west coast of the southern island to the Punakaiki Resort on the west coast. Since only 450,000 of the New Zealand population lives on the west coast, it was eerie to drive along miles of beautiful beaches without anyone there.
And finally, I have included the last photo of the day. Sunset over the Tasman sea.
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