Glaciers, Earthquakes and Lord of the Rings


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October 19th 2007
Published: October 19th 2007
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Lake MathesonLake MathesonLake Matheson

The mountains in the background are Tasman and Cook
So since our last blog a lot has happened......we have walked on a glacier, survived an earthquake (that measured about 6.7 on the Richter Scale), been on a really fast jet boat and lots of other stuff too!

On Monday we spent a day on the Fox Glacier - one of the biggest in NZ. It was not the best day weather wise but if you wait for a dry day on the west coast of NZ South Island you could be waiting a while!! To be honest it didn't really matter that it was a bit wet (well, the hour walk up the mountain face to the access point might have been a bit more fun in the sun but hey ho!) it was still brilliant. Our group managed to walk pretty far compared to other groups but were stopped from going further by the ice fall. Our guide was ace and he swung his ice axe to make new paths for us....yes really! You guys can see from the pictures that it was a unique experience. We didn't really appreciate the immense size of the glacier until we were on it. The glacier is currently advancing (it was retreating a few years ago - it was smaller in 1998) - it was news for us that the glacier actually moves!

We spent Monday night at Haast, which wasn't the best night!! The camp site was literally a bog so we weren't happy campers! There was a silver lining though as we both awoke at 1.30am to the rumble of an earthquake (that's right even Mhairi woke up!) It was a pretty surreal experience the whole tent moved and the ground shook big time!

On Tuesday we made a sharp exit and headed for Wanaka. The road from Haast to Wanaka is apparently one of the most scenic in NZ but the rain was so heavy that we didn't really get the chance to appreciate it which was a pity....though the waterfalls were pretty full! We stayed at a brilliant hostel (we had a good excuse as our tent was soaked) and spent time chilling out on a sofa with phenomenal views of the lake and surrounding mountains. We spent Wednesday doing indoorsy tourist stuff as the walks around about were a big nono due to avalanches, lambing season - you name it! We spent one morning at an indoor climbing centre which was brill but sore on the old arms. We also went to Puzzleworld which was a hoot as Bruce got so frustrated at the puzzles, especially the big maze! The highlight of Wanaka was the cinema. It is no bigger than a large house and it had about 15 sofas in it for seats, and an old car to sit in! (it was called Cinema Paradiso if you want to google it!) Homemade ice-cream and cookies at the interval (I know!!) made the whole visit even better!

From Wanaka we headed to Queenstown and we have had a great time here....Gondola rides, Jetboat rides, windy roads, Lord of the Rings locations and the scenery is to die for - it is truly amazing. Milford Sound trip tomorrow which should be fab!


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19th October 2007

hi bruce, it's irish siobhan from your last trip to nz- i can't believe it's over a year already! i took the exact same photo of lake matheson. scenery over there is just so amazing. you seem to be having a great trip still. keep it up!
25th October 2007

south island
looks really good down there hope the weather stays good for you nice photos glacier looks impressive speak soon
27th October 2007

Highland coo!
I can't believe you saw highland coos! He looks awful friendly!! Whenever I'm ready your blogs Ben thinks I've received terrible news or am reading something bad..he must be picking up my feelings of jealousy at the places you are visiting! Keep up the fab photography and writing, it warms my heart really!! xx

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