Glaciers in the mist

New Zealand's flag
Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef
March 21st 2017
Published: March 21st 2017
Edit Blog Post

Franz Josef GlacierFranz Josef GlacierFranz Josef Glacier

on the way up
The vegetation on the slopes is incredibly lush and dense and we keep expecting mountain gorillas to emerge - but no, wrong continent!

We flew in over this area just 6 days ago, with beautiful blue skies. Sadly the weather isn't being quite so kind now with damp, drizzly conditions and some low level mist. We can't see Mount Cook nor any of the other snow-topped peaks, but there was a little blue sky gap this morning when we walked as close as we were allowed to go to the end of the Franz Josef glacier.

This afternoon we walked down by the coast along the Okarito Trig Trail, lined by beautiful rainforest and had lovely views of the lagoons but none of the promised panoramic ones of glaciers and alps. One bonus of the mist - we have enjoyed the area without the noise of helicopters and have concentrated on looking for birds!

Queenstown was fun! We stayed in a luxurious Airbnb home with a glorious view of the lake. We walked lots (so no change there then), soaked up the Saturday afternoon atmosphere on the waterfront, took the cable car up the mountain, enjoyed the luge
Franz Josef GlacierFranz Josef GlacierFranz Josef Glacier

We saw an information board which showed the frightening distance that it has retreated up the valley since 1965.
run, and ate reasonably priced and very delicious beef wellington in Pub on Wharf.

On Sunday we drove out to Arrowtown which has the strapline 'where history meets nature' - very apt: a quaint heritage village surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. The high street is lined with historic buildings now housing bars, cafes and craft shops, and further down are miners' cottages similarly restored and converted. We went into the little museum to learn about the gold rush of the mid 19th century which is the reason the pretty town sprang up. After a restorative coffee at the Postmaster's Cottage, we walked up Tobin's Trail and found wonderful views over the town and all the way down to Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown. On the way back to town we talked ourselves into taking an exhilarating jetboat ride on the Shotover River. A shared Fergburger for supper completed the day.

Tomorrow we will be up early for the drive across Arthur's Pass to Christchurch.

Additional photos below
Photos: 5, Displayed: 5


Franz Josef GlacierFranz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier

As close as we could get on foot

21st March 2017

'Behind the clouds the sun is shining'!
....... & here's hoping that it breaks out for you in the morning. Yes very worrying and scary that the glacier is retreating at such a rate! Sounds like you totally maximised your fun times in Queensland, as you can imagine it was one of Andrews favourite places. Wishing you a good safe journey across Authurs pass tomorrow and send ing lots of love, Sue and Tom xxxx
22nd March 2017

Loving your blog
As we did our New Zealand trip a few years ago, I love reading your blog and following along. I forgot about Arrowtown, where Nicki and I hiked while Alf was golfing ... can't remember where we lost Jon!! We had better luck at Franz Josef so ... thankful for that. Hope Christchurch is pulling itself out of disaster. We didn't visit there as it was just a few months after the first earthquake and people were barely coping themselves without us barging in on them. By now they will be grateful for any tourist dollars to help them get back on their feet. You mentioned that Mark was from Durban. Not sure that I knew that was his roots. Just because ..... did he happen to know Ian Baron when he was growing up. I know, big city and all but maybe they were neighbours. Ian's wife was also from Durban, Sue. They would be the same age as Mark. Safe travels and keep posting. I'm loving the trip down memory lane. Fiona

Tot: 2.963s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 12; qc: 56; dbt: 0.0234s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb