New Zealand a dream destination. (Part 3)

April 03, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Friday 18th

Continuing our journey along the West Coast to Franz Josef, such beautiful scenery. 540 Km 7 hrs approximately as we did stop a few times on the way. Heading on up State Highway 6 and through the rain forest on the West Coast so many changing landscapes along this route. We head on towards Queenstown but chose not to stop off here, the roads are quiet every where you seem to travel. As always I like to share some of the photos progressing through our travels. 

From here we drive to Arrowtown where we stopped and had a quick walk about before moving on, this is an historic gold mining town in the Otago region of the South Island. I was hoping to find my fortune here but alas it was not to be.

As we head on our way we stop off at Wanaka, this is a town situated in the shores of Lake Wanaka which is estimated to be more than 300m deep and is the gateway to the Mount Aspiring National Park. We managed to stay here for possibly an hour or so and had a bite to eat in one of the cafe's.

Moving on after lunch we continue this long drive but do we care no, time just seems to get lost in the surroundings.


As we carry on we drive through some ever changing scenery as you can see from the photos I have post in my blogs, the one's below show how the road is on the coast line Haast Highway or Haast Pass I believe its called. On the left of us we have the Tasman Sea and to the right wind swept trees, rain forests and mountains.

It must be getting on for maybe 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon when we finally arrive at our destination Franz Josef Glacier as we pull into the campsite check in and park up for 2 days as there is plenty to see. We have a quick wander around the site then head off to explore the town and in pursuit of a few beers at the Ice blue Cafe lovely bar and much needed refreshments before heading back to the motor home for some evening grub, think we had pasta and bacon.

Saturday 19th

Early start today heading out for a walk to the Terminal of the Franz Josef Glacier, it's got to be 10k or more from the campsite but well worth. We left at 9am and got back around 6pm below are just a few snaps of the day.

Franz Josef Glacier / Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere is a 12 km (7.5 mi) long glacier located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. Together with the Fox Glacier 20 km (12 mi) to the south, and a third glacier, it descends from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres (980 ft) above sea level.The area surrounding the two glaciers is part of Te Wahipounamu, a World Heritage Site park. The river emerging from the glacier terminal of Franz Josef is known as the Waiho River.
Franz Josef Glacier is currently 12 km (7.5 mi) long and terminates 19 km (12 mi) from the Tasman Sea. Fed by a 20-square-kilometre (7.7 sq mi) large snowfield at high altitude, it exhibits a cyclic pattern of advance and retreat, driven by differences between the volume of meltwater at the foot of the glacier and volume of snowfall feeding the névé. Franz Josef Glacier had periods of advances from 1946 to 1951 (340 m), 1965–1967 (400 m), 1983–1999 (1420 m) and 2004–2008 (280 m). The glacier advanced rapidly during the Little Ice Age, reaching a maximum in the early eighteenth century. Having retreated several kilometres between the 1940s and 1980s, the glacier entered an advancing phase in 1984 and at times has advanced at the phenomenal (by glacial standards) rate of 70 cm a day. The flow rate is about 10 times that of typical glaciers. Over the longer term, the glacier has retreated since the last ice age, and it is believed that it extended into the sea some 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.

This cyclic behaviour is well illustrated by a postage stamp issued in 1946, depicting the view from St James Anglican Church. The church was built in 1931, with a panoramic altar window to take advantage of its location. By 1954, the glacier had disappeared from view from the church, but it reappeared in 1997. This is due to the highly variable conditions on the snowfield, which take around 5–6 years before they result in changes in the terminus location.

The glacier was still advancing until 2008, but since then it has entered a very rapid phase of retreat. As is the case for most other New Zealand glaciers which are mainly found on the eastern side of the southern alps, the shrinking process is attributed to global warming.

There have been some incidents of jökulhlaups (outbreak floods from water-filled ice tunnels) at the glacier, with one destroying a bridge on the access route in 1989.

Based on past variations, scientists expect that Franz Josef Glacier will retreat 5 km and lose 38% of its mass by 2100 in a mid-range scenario of warming.


Here are a few more photos taken on the way back to the campsite from the Terminal of the Franz Jozef Glacier.


St James Church I think. 

Ice Blue Cafe.


My next blog  Whale Watching in Kaikoura.


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