Friday, June 10, 2016

Some Ice With That?

For the rest of my blog posts on New Zealand, one thing will be a given - the drive was spectacular! If you're anything like us and love road trips, you'll know that the journey from one place to the next is as much a part of the holiday as the destination. New Zealand is a dream for road trippers (and hikers, bikers, water babies and adrenaline junkies, but for now I'm wearing my  road tripper hat!)

New Zealand is a patchwork quilt of other countries all in one delicious bundle. In Omarama, we had a little snippet of Utah at the Clay cliffs. In Doubtful Sound we visited an echo of Norway's fjords. Queenstown had a Scottish flavor and Wanaka - the English Lake District? (I'm reaching here because I've not visited the Lake District ... but there's a lake ... so...)

Our next stop - a chip off Alaska, with its glaciers - namely Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.
We visited Fox Glacier first. I'd been here 13 years ago and the amount that the glacier has retreated in that time is alarming. We had a bit of a walk to get to the viewing point.
This was as close as we were allowed to go - and even at that there was danger of falling rocks en-route. Why you couldn't stop baffled me - surely if rocks were falling you'd be as likely to be hit walking as standing still?
Even with the zoom lens on full - the glacier seemed very far away... and very dirty!
Unless you are on a special guided tour you cannot access the Glacier. That was fine with us. I was happy to look from a distance.

The other glacier, Franz Joseph Glacier, can be seen from the town of the same name.
The zoom lens came in very handy in this case.
We stayed in an adorable cottage - a complex of cottages called 10 Cottages.

I wanted to stay longer - perhaps another thing that should be a default statement for this blog series on New Zealand.
My pictures don't do the place justice - but do hop over to the website for the accommodation here if you'd like to see better pictures.

The next morning we awoke to broken weather! The clouds had moved all the way down to street level. A fine drizzle of rain would make a hike uncomfortable and we'd not get a good view of the Franz Josef Glacier anyways.

"We've seen a glazier," we told ourselves. "No point getting soaked for nothing," we convinced ourselves. "Sod it - we have a picture of the glacier that we took from the main street - we're on holiday - we don't have to do anything we don't feel like," we concluded our justifications to ourselves. As the rain came on harder, we packed up and left. The waterfalls along the way were jaw dropping.

That rainstorm pounded Franz Josef for the next week and caused the river to burst it's banks flooding the town so badly a state of emergency was called.

This was one case where, in hindsight, we were glad we hadn't stayed longer! Poor old Franz Josef. I hope you've recovered now.

Byddi Lee




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