Nelson to Franz Josef Glacier
Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
118Trip End Feb 18, 2007
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Whilst "flying" down the coast on the way to Greymouth, we stop to view some interesting coastal formations that the powerful waves have caused. The best of these are, the Pancake Rocks and the Chimney both at Punakaiki.
The Pancake Rocks looking like a load of squashed pancakes stacked on top of one another
After a night in the dead town of Greymouth, it's back on the coach and down towards the famous Franz Josef Glacier. This glacier is said to be one of the fastest moving in the world. Around about 5 metres a day!
We sign up for the half day glacier hike, which takes you climbing right up on top of the huge river of ice.
As we approach the front of the huge glacier, we can see that some steps have been carved out to enable us to climb up the front of it. As we approach it, we jump a mile, as we witness a huge part of the front of the glacier collapse in a massive thud, right next to the steps where we are about to start walking... Now, we're all for adventure tours, but it made us think about what would happen, if the part of the glacier which we're about to climb up, would collapse just like what we've just witnessed. We'd be goners for sure, crushed under about 5 tonnes of ice.
We ask the question to the guide, who reassures us that they try and avoid walking around the weaker parts of the glacier which are likely to collapse. Did that make us feel any better, did it hell! We thought, there's always the possibility of human error here, so after putting on the special ice boots, with spikes to allow you to dig into the ice, we nervously dart up the front of the glacier, just incase...
We spend a few hours climbing on the glacier and viewing the amazing ice formations. It is physically hard work, we can tell you. The air temperature is warm so our bodies are fine, but it really attacks your feet and Marc is starting to get frost bite, despite putting on 3 pairs of socks.
We finally climb back off the glacier, and head back into town for a well earned rest.