New Zealand - South Island West Coast
Trip Start Dec 05, 2005
124Trip End Ongoing
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We decided to take a walk to a lookout over the Franz Josef Glacier, the best view being from Sentinel Rock. The walk was fairly short (30 minutes return) but was quite steep in parts (PIC) to get to the top of the lookout.
The view was worth the journey - a sweeping view over the glacial riverbed to the steep glacier in the distance. It was slightly steeper than Fox and did not have the dogleg in the downward slope. The structure of Franz Josef means that the ice cracks across the glacier, instead of down in the case of Fox
Leaving Franz Josef we followed the river out of the glacier, the red rocks and milky water gave a great view back at the ice. There were even blocks of ice the size of house bricks floating in the river - it was no time for a quick swim!
Following the coast northwards we passed through Greymouth and stopped at 'Pancake Rocks and Blowholes' in Punakaiki. The pancake rocks are a natural phenomenon created by layer upon layer of mineral deposition and compression over thousands of years - erosion by the sea and wind then leaves the structures seen today (PICS). You can clearly see why the rocks got their name and all the talk of pancakes started making us hungry!
Another rock feature stood out from the coastline; a face peering out of the cliff and looking out to sea (PIC).
After some delicious pancakes (well we just had to!) we continued our journey up the west coast to Westport - a fairly unimpressive town that we used simply for an overnight stay before heading to the Abel Tasman National Park.