Vacation 2001, Day 12
Wednesday, August 1
Queenstown to Franz Josef, New Zealand

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Expectations for Today

Today I leave Queenstown and travel to the small town Franz Josef on the west coast of the South Island. Franz Josefs claim to fame is a huge glacier named the same as the town. Franz Josef is just on the west side of the mountains from Mount Cook national park. Last time I was here I took an incredible helicopter flight which included walking on the glacier and some fantastic video of crossing through a mountain pass. Sights along this trip include Lakes Hawea and Wanaka, crossing the Haast Pass and the World Heritage Westland National Park.

Created July 14th, 2001.

What Actually Happened this day.

Left Queenstown around 8:00 am and headed for the west coast. The only way out of Queenstown going north or west is back along the Kawarau Gorge to a point near Cromwell. There is one intersection that determines whether you go east or west. Weather was fine until up in the mountains rain began. I didn't see the sun again for 2 days when I arrived back in Christchurch. On the map below the route for today is shown by the GREEN line starting in Queenstown and heading west and north.

An avalanche into the Haast Pass area.

New Zealand has many single lane bridges.
This one is over the river in the next 2 pictures.

Most of the debris from the avalanche in the
picture above ended up in this river.
Here is a wider view of the river with the road
we are traveling on in the upper right corner.

The weather in 1992 was different and in one
place along this road we saw this before the sun
hit it.
We were unable to see this in 2001 because of
the weather.

Here is another site that was invisible in 2001.

The view looking north up the Tasman coast
towards Franz Josef gives you an idea of what
the weather was like all the way up the west

Looking south from the same spot, these are
more seals on the isolated section of coastline.
I stayed in the same hotel in 2001 as in 1992. It
was hard even to see this much in 2001. The
glacier is back in those mountains.

As mentioned above, Franz Josefs claim to fame is a glacier that in the 2001 trip I couldn't even get near or even see the mountains that enclosed it. So here from the 1992 trip are some images from that incredible helicopter trip. It's much better in moving form on the video but here's a few samples.

The helicopter I was in.

We landed and walked on a glacier.

For safety reasons 3 helicopters were there
at the same time.

The sun reflecting of a perfectly
smove Tasman Sea.

The upper part of the tongue of
the Franz Josef glacier.

The tongue or edge of the Franz Josef Glacier.

The view from above the tongue. The town is
just to the right of the clear section in the middle.
The helicopter landing pads with the village
in the centre going right.

[ On to Day 13]

Last Updated September 2nd, 2001

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