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Posts Tagged ‘franz josef’

I have been slacking a little on the updates. Probably because this blog was a way for my family who doesn’t have Facebook to see all my pictures of my trip and so far, I’ve managed to show most of my family pictures. However, I did promise myself I’d keep updating this so I have a well-rounded journal on my trip. So here goes!

I last left off in the middle of New Zealand so I’ll continue with that! One of my most favourite things of my entire trip was the Franz Josef glacier hike. It was unbelievable. This is a glacier that sits right next to a tropical rainforest and is one of three in the world to do so. The other one is about 5km down the road from it and the third is in …Brazil? I believe.

The glacier itself is about 12km long, running up a gorge. Of course, it has, in the many thousands of years it’s been there, been the one to carve out this valley. It has, at some points, been as long as 15km. Every year it gets about 80 feet of precipitation falling on it, which is quite a lot. So much so in fact that the average time it takes the ice to move from the top of the glacier to the end is only an 8-year cycle. That’s pretty fast for a glacier.

With the Franz Josef glacier, you can choose from 3 hikes. One is an hour hike, one is a half-day hike and the other is a full day. Of course, everyone wants to do the full day hike. So it’s important to book ahead, weary travelers! Luckily, because we traveled with Kiwi Experience, they have a certain number of spots set aside so we only need to decide the day before whether we want to do it or not. But anyone not traveling with a tour, I would recommend booking your tour as early as possible to guarantee spots.

The full day hike is an 8 hour event. Now, only about 6 of those hours is spent on the actual glacier but it still seems like a long time to be standing on ice. Fear not, it goes by quickly! In the morning, you get a quick little video of the hike and the rules, then get your gear. Not sure if I mentioned it but you get hat, gloves, coat, pants, boots and crampons (the little metal that goes on the bottom of your boots so you don’t go flying on the ice). All you need to provide are non-jean pants or shorts and 3-4 layers on top. You should be good to go then!

Our guide’s name was Jason. He was very …interesting. Young – only 18 so I’m pretty sure he was the youngest of our group! He enjoyed telling dead baby jokes, which I was very amused about. But he was good at his job and made sure we were all safe. There are ‘features’ – as they call them – on the glacier that the guides like to wind the group’s way up to and around. These features only last a week or two, on average, before they fall or melt away which means if your friends do it at another point in time, they will most likely see the glacier from a different viewpoint than you. It’s neat.

Anyway, enough ramble about the hike. I highly, highly recommend it. It honestly was one of the best things I did in the 6 months I was away. It’s a little expensive ($100 or $150 NZD I believe) but definitely worth every penny. Onto the pictures!

Also, I promised my friend I’d do a shout-out on a blog for him. He’s never had one before! But I can’t mention his name so I’ll just call him Hockey Boy. Hey, Hockey Boy! SHOUT OUT!

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So as I wind my way through part of the world, I’ve taken some pictures I really, really like. And I thought I’d like to share with you, my dear readers (grand total of 7 now, aha), my favourite ones every once in a while. I envision this kind of post continuing long past my return to Canada, so I think you can look forward to fresh new content for some time now. Holla!

Some may have been shown here before but some may not. It’s like a surprise with every post, hurray!

Franze Josef Feature

Decided to start with a picture from New Zealand because I feel bad I haven’t put up my awesome Franz Josef glacier hike pictures yet. So this is one of them. There are others because this was a kick-ass thing to do!

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I did the 8 hour glacier hike today and it was amazing. So, so amazing. I can’t wait to post the pictures so you can see how gorgeous it is.

Luckily, they provide you with mitts, hats, pants, coats, boots, socks and crampons (hehe crampons). So that was good. I didn’t freeze my butt off on the ice. Although about 1/4 of the way through I did manage to sink both feet into some shin-high ice water. I spent the next 5 hours in 3 pairs of soggy socks, and wet boots. Super luckily, I have no blisters to report!

Tomorrow we head to Wanaka Lake. Not exactly sure what’s on the go there but I plan on just maybe getting a hike in and relaxing. Then the next day it’s off to Queenstown! The day after we get there I’ll be doing a Lord of the Rings tour, because yes, I am a giant nerd and then a day trip to Milford Sound. I hear it’s absolutely lovely. Someone on the trip talked me into it, despite the $160 price point.

After that it’s white water rafting with hopefully Kelly, then we get into Christchurch the day before our flight leaves. We will probably sleep overnight in the airport as our flight leaves at 7am, meaning a 5am check-in. It doesn’t make sense to pay for a hostel just to wake up at 4am and leave. So we’ll be camping out overnight airport-style. Should suck but I’d rather that and save $30. See? My inner backpacker has finally been awakened! Hurrah!

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