A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand’s Icy Heart

Franz Joseph Glacier

sunny 22 °C

The sunny days of summer are slowly sliding into fall as we sink further south with only the ocean between us and Antarctica. There is no snow on the beaches, but there are penguins - although we have yet to see one…
Before the Maoris arrived from Polynesia, (only a few centuries before the Europeans), these islands drifted unmanned in the vast emptiness of the great Southern Ocean for many millennia. The landscape was wrought by catastrophic seismic eruptions and fashioned by the fearsome Roaring Forties that circle the globe almost unimpeded – it is a rugged windswept land of fire, water and ice…
It has a ragged coastline smashed by a million storms...
More often than not the tiny two-street town of Franz Joseph is up to its waist in water. More than 5 metres (16 feet) of rain falls here every year and seven thousand tourists a day cram into the hotels, motels, hostels and campsites with only one thing in mind: will they be lucky enough to get a clear view of the Franz Joseph glacier that overlooks the town before it finally melts into the history books? Will they, like us, get to see the glacier’s reflection in Peter’s Pool…
Will they, like us, be mesmerised by the thundering waterfalls that cascade a thousand feet into the wide valley below…
Will they, like us, be enchanted by the vibrant lichens that colour the boulders in the glacier’s rocky debris field…
Will they, like us, be awed by the sight of the mighty Franz Joseph glacier…
Or will they, like so many, be dismayed to discover the glacier shrouded by the thick curtains of cloud that can blanket these mountains for day after day.

Posted by Hawkson 00:39 Archived in New Zealand

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You are lucky indeed! What a long way to travel and take that chance. Since we may never see this for ourselves, thank you so much for sharing.

by Ginny Miller

Awesome indeed and excellent photos especially the last one of the glacier.

by R and B

Hope you get to see the fairy penguins! Cute Cute Cute
Stay well and keep the photos coming....

by Joyce

I feel home sick looking at these photos. Great pictures of Franz Joseph - it was covered in mist when I got there.

How did you like the pancakes?

by amanda

,,and would the Emperor Franz Joseph have loved to see your great images, your story telling? you bet, just like this Austrian :-)

by gottfried

Really beautiful photographs.

by Janet

Such a journey of landscapes as you predicted. Thanks for the journey.

by Sue Fitzwilson

You always have such great good luck getting photos when advesrse conditions disappoint many others. Glad that luck continues. The shots of the glacier are really stunning. Quite a sight to see.

by Tom

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