Ice, ice baby

Trip Start Dec 31, 2006
Trip End Nov 2007

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Monday, August 6, 2007

After the seals, we then drove to Pancake rocks so called as the rocks look like they are thinly sliced and piled on top of each other er like pancakes and there are also blowholes, which are holes in the rock where sea spray escapes from as the waves crash into the rocks.  After we wandered around the paths looking at the rocks and the view out to sea we had a wander around the gift shop and a well earned cup of tea.  We had sarnies in a laybay campervan stylee before completing the long drive to the campsite which was very posh and for once was full of campervans.  We walked up an extremly small hill at the campsite for a great view of the mountains that surrounded the park and explored the site. This usually involves checking out the TV room, internet, kitchen and toilets - the latter caused us to laugh as on the fire escape notice it informed us that in the event of a fire we were to evacuate through the door, as against what we still don't know!  Then it was time for tea and wine before we hit the sack.

Next day we were up early to climb Fox Glacier which is the 20mins from Franz Josef village, it is supposdly supposed to be slightly easier than the Franz Josef glacier where we were staying.  We drove along a very windy road to get there.  We checked in and had a quick toilet stop seeing as we would be unable to go for the next 3 hours.  We waited whilst Peter donned his socks and boots (our hiking (or tramping as it is called in NZ) boots were ok), were given a brief intro on what the tour would involved and collected our crampons (spikes which we tied onto our boots to allow us to walk on the ice and not slip basically).  We got a bus to the bottom of the glacier where we were asked to split into two groups naturally me and Sarah made a beeline straight for the kiwi guy plus other lady was european and we couldn't understand a word she said.  Our guide for the day was Paul who gave us lots of information and history on the glacier. We were the only pommes on the trip the rest were aussies so everytime we went over water  Paul told the aussies to drink as much water as they wanted or take a shower as there was plenty of water (aussies still going through a drought and are on water restrictions), very funny.  There was quite a hike up to where we would get on the glacier over streams and through rainforest, the glacier is one of only 2 in the world where rainforest meets ice the other is in Argentina which we are also going to yeay.  Halfway up we stopped at what Paul called 'Kodak corner' for a great view and naturally pictures of the glacier from above.  Soon we were at the edge of the glacier and it was time to put the crampons on and walk (or rather stumble) over a bit of rock with them on to the ice.  Paul went first hacking away at the ice with an axe as he went and we were soon walking on ice between two sheer walls of ice amazing, steps were made in the ice and the crampons luckily gave us a good old grip on the ice.  Paul hacked at ice and told us all to pick a bit up and have a suck which we all dutifully did, pure ice off a glacier baby no cubes.  We also passed pools of ice and a couple of craazy dudes ice climbing!!!!  We took loads of photos before me and Peter took up the challenge to crawl through the ice cave or should I say tunnel.  There were lots of strange noises coming from the people before us, after Peters legs disappeared through I followed and I could see why people made a lot of strange noises it was an extremely tight squeeze and evem I had troubled hauling myself forward.  There was a rope to help us but it was actually hard work Paul didn't help by shouting down the tunnel 'it's like being born again, and 'move like a seal' making me laugh holding up my already slow progress.  At last I got through we hiked back down through the ice, took off our crampons and hiked back down the hill again.

We drove back to Fox, took off our gear, got our certificate, had a look around the gift shop (naturally) and had lunch.  Next we drove to nearby Lake Matheson which we had a nice walk around some of the lake again through very mossy woodland, stopping to look at the lake itself where there was a perfect reflection of the mountains behind in the lake, so much so that when you took a photo you couldn't tell which way was up.  Next we drove to the bottom of Franz Josef glacier to have a look but we couldn't get close enough to see it was nearly teatime and it was a 2 hour walk to the bottom.  Instead we went into town and went to the supermarket and the shops before returning to the campsite for a brew and good old game of cards.
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annebrignall on

Oh Wow!
Sounds like the Glacier was absolutely brilliant!! I so want to do that!!! :-) Cannot wait to see photos of the glaciers.

Anne :-)

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