Friday, August 20, 2010

NZ Day 4 - Franz Josef


Franz Josef glacier, seen from the valley floor.

  • Woke up early again and had our home-cooked breakfast. Took a ten-minute walk from the motel to Franz Josef Glacier Guide Center, to join several other tourists to climb the Franz Josef Glacier on a half-day tour. Together with Fox Glacier, they are the two most well-known glaciers in New Zealand.
  • Registered ourselves, and given a briefing by one of the guides before getting our equipments for the climb, such as rain trousers, boots, gloves, hats, and rain coats at the counter. Had difficulties on the boots sizes at first, but managed to get the right size eventually. That's one of the cool thing to be in an ang moh country; not much worries on clothing and foot wear sizes, especially for a person who has an elephant-size feet like me. 
  • Took a short bus ride from the center to the starting point of the glacier adventure. Noticed that some of the instructions inside the bus were in Japanese. Apparently, these kinds of buses in New Zealand are mostly second-hand ones, imported from Japan. 
  • Walked through some bush for more than thirty minutes, before continuing our walk along some rocky valley, until the terminal area of the glacier, which took another thirty minutes or so. 
  • Broken into two groups, the first group was for those who prefer the challenging option, while the second group was for people who preferred to take it slow and easy. Almost everyone, including the two of us chose the latter group, and left the guide in the first group alone and lonely. That was when he started to pull some of us from the second group into his group haha! 
  • Our guide was an English lady, Taite who was friendly and funny person at the same time. Given some last minute pre-cautions before starting to climb the glacier.
    There were several sections, which were a little risky along the climb; but generally, it was quite okay. 
  • Got to walk through the cracks of ice, which was quite narrow. The inside of the ice was light blue-coloured, which was just too spectacular to describe it with words. 
  • Reached the point for the half-day trip after almost thirty minutes, which was about 280 meters above the sea level. Given some time to rest, had some snacks and snap photos. Took our homemade burger buns with ham, garlic, and onion dip with lettuces. 
  • The guide commented on one of the group member who was talking on the phone, as he appeared to be the first person she'd ever seen to make a phone call from the glacier haha! 
  • Went to the Glacier Hot Pools to relax, after our tiring glacier climb. The place had three pools with three different temperatures - 36, 38, and 40 degrees, but they are still considered "cold" compared to the onsens in Japan. 
  • Had a warm shower and went out to look for snacks. Of all snack, got each of us a stick of ice cream, in freezing winter evening! 
  • Went around the town to look for a hut, which was taken down from the mountains after the glaciers had retreated down the years. The hut was then re-erected at the visitors' center. Mission failed, as we couldn't locate the hut haha! 
  • Slept early after a long and tiring day at the glacier. Plus, it's gonna be an early drive on the next morning to catch the sunrise at Lake Matherson.


Kae Vin said...

wow I am expecting the great pictures of the glacier! :D

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
yup, i will surely blog on them. so, stay tuned! xD