Feb 28-29 Glacier Country
You run out of adjectives attempting to describe glaciers. We trekked the Franz Joseph and Fox Glacier Valley Walks and were again reminded how magnificent these living mountains of ice are. In NZ, trekkers can either hire guides to do a variety of glacier treks, hire a helicopter for trek/sightseeing/skiing adventures, or walk the various well marked trails yourself. We chose to see both Franz Joseph and the Fox Glacier ourselves, and were rewarded with incredible scenery that burns into your brain and leaves lasting memories. The glaciers here are unique, as they abut tropical rain forests. The glacial streams are a gray-blue color, as befits glacial ice melt. Our timing was great, and we managed to avoid the tourist crowds and heavy rains that are usually found in both areas. What also impressed us was the fact that the rope lined trails ended within several hundred meters of the face of the glaciers; incredibly close and great for picture taking. The two towns that have grown nearby these glaciers are only 23 km apart, and appeared to us like an alpine village set in some ski area. The rains have started and stopped all day today, and the clouds forming like a necklace toward the top third of the nearby mountains as viewed from our cabin are constantly changing.
The coastal drive took us past Punakaiki, aka Pancake Rocks and blowholes. It reminded me of Bryce/Zion National Park, with geysers of water shooting up (when the tide is in). Michael is looking at the dry 'hole', and in the distance is the Tasman Sea.