Saturday, March 9, 2013

Day 8 in New Zealand - Franz Josef Glacier

Sunrise in Wanaka New Zealand

On day 8 we drove from Wanaka to Franz Josef glacier. This is the sunrise at Wanaka

Margot spotted this rainbow and took this picture out the car window.

There are sheep everywhere in New Zealand.

They get a lot of rain and there are streams running down out of the mountains everywhere.

Franz Josef averages over 5 meters of rain each year. That is about 200 inches. The results in a temperate rain forest. Lots of ferns and moss.

Yet just 30 or 40 miles away you find a very dry environment.
Tasman Sea at Knights Point in New Zealand

The sea coast here is pretty wild. There were only a few beaches and bays were settlers could communicate with those outside. The first road was not completed until 1965. Even today the population in this part of New Zealand is pretty low.

There is a section of the road that comes down to the beach. The beach is covered with smooth white rocks.

Margot, the rock hound, picks up a couple of them.
Signed rocks at Bruce Bay near Haast, New Zealand

Somehow it became popular for visitors to write messages or their name on rocks and leave them on the beach. I have no idea what the recycle rate is but given the environment I imagine they don't last more than a year or so.

When in Rome ....

We didn't have a felt marker. I don't imagine that our contribution lasted more than a week.
Cattle crossing the road near Haast, New Zealand

Cattle has been an important part of the economy since European settlers arrived in the area.

I think I have mentioned the one lane bridges before. There are a lot of them.
Kiwi center in Franz Josef, New Zealand

Franz Josef is a very small town that serves the needs of tourists visiting the glacier. You can take guided hikes, go on your own, take all sorts of helicopter or airplane flights.

This is the Kiwi center. It was established to support a specific species of Kiwi native to the area that is very threatened.
Valley at Franz Josef Glacier

This is a view up the valley toward the glacier. It is about one mile from here to the glacier. You can see all the people walking up the valley.
Ice cave at Franz Josef Glacier

This is the end of the glacier. If you click on the picture you can see the blocks of ice that have fallen off the glacier. Notice all the rock and gravel in the ice.

Here is another shot after the clouds lifted a bit. If you click on the picture you can see a red dot above the man's right shoulder. That is a person up near the face of the glacier. That gives you a bit of a sense of scale.

Margot wanted to bring this rock home, too, but I convinced her it wouldn't fit in her suitcase. She was having some trouble picking it up, anyway.
Waterfall at Franz Josef Glacier

This is a waterfall along the side of the valley.

Lots of moss on the rocks.

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