Long bus ride to see the Franz Josef Glacier

Those excellent mueseli bars. Full of good stuff and sweetened with honey. Between us, we only ate one for breakfast.

Jan 3rd, we left Queenstown. I will not miss the internet at the Blue Peaks apartments. Will update more later. Tired now. I’ll just upload images, while there is good internnet at the Punga Gardens Motel.

Finally packed right. A few things are in a reusable shopping bag, making my pack thin enough to fit in the overhead shelf.
So we have legroom!
This bridge is owned by the famous A. J. Hackert, who invented bungee jumping. It’s now a commercial jump site.
Back in Cromwell, there was a lone tree standing in a field. The area used to be forest, but was cleared for farming. When someone bought this lot, a petition was circulated to preserve this tree, saying it had “sentimental value.” The owners relented. It later came out that half the town had been conceived under that tree. It’s now officially called the Wooing Tree.
Cherries are big business in the area around Cromwell. 85% of the crop is exported to China or South Korea. When there is an orchard with a cover over all the trees, that’s a sure sign that it’s an export crop.
These purplish-gray trees are Manuka. The Manuka has natural antiseptics and antibiotics to fight local fungus. Honey made from Manuka is supposed to have health benefits.
We saw a fair number of cyclists on the road, both unloaded, and fully self-supported.
NZ roads are different. It can take all day to go just one or two hundred miles, because in many places, the road narrows to one lane for repairs. Even on the open highway, the speed limit is 100 kph (=60 mph).
Even this 1.2 km bridge was one lane, and vehicles queue up to wait for the line of cars from the other side to pass. Tunnels are one-lane, also.
These tall trees are Kahikatia, or White Pine. They were previously used for cheese and butter boxes, as the wood has no smell. Seems wasteful today, as the trees are 500-800 years old.
A lookout point on the West Coast. Tasman sea in the background.
We stopped for a half-hour lunch at Paringa Salmon Farm.

I tried to order the Salmon Pasta for Merrianne, but they were out, and recommended the Salmon Chowder for speed, since we had to get back on the bus. Merrianne was over at a far table working on her journal, so rather than discuss it, I just yelled over that I was getting chowder for her. They had whitebait sandwich, which I had been dying to try since arriving in NZ a week ago, but the cashier suggested that it would take a while to prepare. We had 30 minutes, so I said I’d chance it. For the next 23 minutes, I was sweating bullets wondering if it was going to come out. Eating hot food is not allowed on the bus, incidentally.

Got it! I normally don’t drink with my meal, but by using a glass of water, I was able to choke down the sandwich in 5 minutes without throwing up. Just in time for the bus.
This is the sandwich. Buttered white bread, a slice of lemon to squeeze onto it, and a battered baby fish patty. Not a whole lot of taste, if you ask me, but maybe this wasn’t prepared optimally, or rushing to eat had something to do with it.
So many of the areas we crossed looked the river marking the boundary to Rivendell (Lord of the Rings).
We got into Franz Josef to find that we were already booked on the 4:45 shuttle to the Glacier. This is the trail to get closer to the glacier. Because of unstable rocks, tourists are no longer allowed to get onto the glacier from the terminal face. There are helicopters that will deposit you on the glacier briefly, if you want.

This is as close as we could get, about 1-2 km from the face. The glacier has retreated considerably in the last 10 years. In 2009, the place where we were standing was on top of the glacier.
We had a little time before the next shuttle back to the hotel, so did an additional hike to a lookout rock. We saw one other family coming down from the rock, but otherwise, it was just us. A contrast from the crowds on the other trail.
Used the self-timer, since there was no one to ask to take our picture. The glacier is right behind my head.
We got groceries from 4-square supermarket. There were NZ Roast Lamb microwave dinners. The lamb comes in thin slices, like bologna.
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2 thoughts on “Long bus ride to see the Franz Josef Glacier”

  1. It’s sad to see how the Fox Glacier has subsided since David and I walked on it in 1991. It’s tragic how climate change has affected the world.

    1. So true. At the overlook, there is a sign, with an artist’s conception of what the glacier might look like in the year 2100. Guess again, it’s already melted way past that.

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