Franz Josef ...... cool as ice glacier
Franz Josef Travel Blog› entry 17 of 18 › view all entries
The day after the Poo-bar we went to Franz Josef where we stayed for two nights. During this trip we stopped in Pukekura to visit the Bushman's Centre. This is a really funny place where they show how to capture a deer in Kiwi-style. I've heard rumours of how they catch deers but I thought it was just a joke but it's not. In New Zealand, they capture deers by jumping out of a helicopter right above on a deer. It looks spectacular! It looks like an action scene from the "A-Team". One traveller of our group (Jake) was forced to feed a pig. Well, it was the biggest and scariest pig I've ever seen! The pig got grumpy and violent when Jack was out food.
The scenery from Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef consists of wetlands, forests (with lots of rimu and kahikitea trees), numerous lakes and the awesome views of the Southern Alps.
The hostel (Rainforest Retreat) in Franz Josef was very nice. It has a huge spa pool (for about 12 people) and the beds are comfortable. Also the kitchen looks nice, big and clean. Franz Josef has many bushwalks but there is one major attraction you can do in this area and that's the Franz Josef Glacier hike.
What makes this glacier so special is the fact that diverse ecosystems are huddling next to each other in interdependent ecological sequence. In a distance of fifteen kilometres you will see a glacier, rainforest and the sea.
There are different ways/tours to explore the glacier. There is a half day, 3/4 day and a full day hike over the glacial terrain. You can also choose for the option called the heli-hike (expensive), which a helicopter takes you high up on the glacier, do a two hour hike on the glacier, and then the helicopter takes you back downtown. The adventurist can choose for ice climbing on the glacier.
I have chosen for the full day hike option (in total eight hours where you will walk six hours on the glacier), and went up with the first (and fastest) group. The gears provided are of top quality. You get a coat, trousers, hat, mittens, hiking boots and socks and crampons.
The glacier hike was a great adventure for me. Unfortunately, we walked through bad weather which made the walk a little bit colder for us. Also, my camera on the glacier!!! :( Not cool. Really tiny rocks got into the lens which makes the camera useless. I wasn't the only one who got his camera broken on the glacier (there were at least five more camera incidents) so be careful when using a camera on a glacier!
Next destination: Wanaka.