New Zealand and Australia 2008 travel blog

Uncut Greenstone (jade) at factory

Greenstone scraps waiting for shaping and polishing

Franz Joseph glacier on left, Fox glacier on right

Franz Joseph from the air

At the top of Franz Joseph

Glacier close up

Frank and Bev and the helicopter on the Fox glacier

Fox glacier

Valley and low lands between glaciers and Tasmin Sea

West coast view of the Tasmin Sea

West coast view

This part of the tour was suppose to have rare bird and...

Back on the bus to Hokitika, where we visited a jade factory (and of course showroom). The Mauri call jade Pounamu. Another name is greenstone. Of course this particular stop was not a cheap stop. Be sure to ask about Frank’s ring and my bracelet and earrings when we see you next.

We continued down the highway, traveling through dense rainforest to the World Heritage Westland National Park. The coastline is rugged and the plant life abundant. The annual rainfall on the east side of the Alps is around 6 inches a year and on the west side its 6 or 7 meters a year.

We stopped in Franz Joseph to check out the glaciers. Frank and I opted for the optional helicopter ride up to the glaciers. We actually landed on the Fox glacier and were able to get out and throw a few snowballs. There is some irony in the fact that we traveled half way around the world to do something we could have done at home.

We continued on to Haast, a very small isolated village. It consisted of a motel, bar/restaurant and gas station. There were a few houses down the road.

At dinner we watched a helicopter come in pick of three deer and drop them closer to the road and then go back for three more. Evidently you can go fishing and deer hunting by helicopter on the same day. Although shooting deer from a helicopter doesn’t sound very sporting.

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