Monday, March 26, 2018

Wanaka to Franz Joseph Glacier via Haast Pass New Zealand

A pleasantly warm night was spent in our holiday park in Wanaka, the quieter version of Queenstown. It was nice to be back to just a t-shirt and no jacket. Dad even went so far as to don his swim trunks and sit in the sun.
We departed the next morning heading for Franz Joseph Glacier. This route takes us over Haast Pass and starts us on the upper west side of our figure 8 loop around the island. Haast Pass while a bit steep and curvy is a bit of a 'blinker' - if you don't see the sign at the pass top, you've missed it. In some trees and out the other side!
We did stop at the two waterfalls posted on the maps. The first on the way was Fantail Falls, a short 2-minute walk from the parking lot. While the falls weren't all that spectacular, the assortment of cairns all around the river bend were quite unusual. People seemed more intrigued with photographing or building one.
Back on the road to the next 'view point' of Thunder Falls. More impressive due to the height, but still just ok. The gorge leading to the falls was huge, rolling water of a beautiful turquoise blue, but there were no places to stop along the road. Our next stop was a quick visit to Ship Creek! One doesn't want to stay here long, especially without a paddle, as we were! There were several ship groundings here, so there really is truth to 'being up Ship's Creek without a paddle is bad news'!
Obviously I didn't take the picture, so Tom deserves the credit!
The road to Franz Joseph Glacier passes right past Fox Glacier. The road winds and twists and there are many hairpin turns along the way. Unfortunately, the glaciers are receding to the point that the access roads to the end of the glaciers have been closed at each one. You are now required to do some serious trekking and most of it guided to get to the glaciers. We looked into doing a helicopter flight around the area for a good view, but at $485 EACH for 20 minutes, we decided to just buy the post card! And then we forgot to buy the postcard!

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