We'll start with apologies for delays in updating our log..... pressures of traveling etc etc etc...... with just too much to do and see.
Franz Joseph glacier - well it really is something special. Unfortunately the weather was still pretty awful and we spent 3 days there waiting for the clouds to lift and for the scenery to change from grey mist and clouds to a view! The season of weather here has even confounded the locals who are just about as fed up with the continual rain and reversion to winter climates as we are! Never mind we are enjoying ourselves but having to change plans daily as the weather dictates. Unfortunately very little walking!
Whilst waiting for the weather to clear, visited the White heron breeding colony, the only one in NZ. Initially travelled by jet boat to the area then a walk to bird hide. some good photos.
However - we did manage to walk up onto the glacier which was great fun. Wearing crampons felt very strange at first but we soon got used to them. The ice was very soft in places and our guide was having to recut steps continually so progress was very slow.... but all in all really worthwhile.
Next we moved onto Fox Glacier just half on hour south. In the morning we woke to brilliant sunshine so sped off to Lake Matheson before breakfast to catch the truely wonderful views of the mountains reflected into the mirror calm waters of the lake......just beautiful. THEN we went up on the helicoptor to see both Fox and Franz Glaciers and landed high up above the glaciers for a brief walk around on the virgin snow....wonderful just wonderful.
We then motored further south to stay near Haast..... more to follow on this. Couple of pictures added of Haast area, Cool Temperate Rain Forest area, but very beautiful.
Arrived Queenstown to our best weather yet. Warm sunshine but tremendous gusts of wind. Scenery spectacular. Busy bustling town, we didn't think we would like at first, but enjoyed. From here we motored up to the other end of the lake to Glenorchy - some 50miles - and then on into the mountainous back country to the Routeburn Track.
This track of some 33km goes over the mountains towards Milford Sound. WE did just a day wak of some 6 hours, climbing about 1250feet (plus a lot more with all the ups and downs) Really fantastic scenery everywhere.
Moved onto Fiordland and Doubtful Sound - more of this later in next update.