Wednesday, February 08, 2017

A Rainy Day in the South Isles

Although our flight was to Queenstown, we weren't going to be staying there until later. Our destination on day 1 was Wanaka - an hour's drive from Queenstown, and oh-so-beautiful. Now this might seem like I'm repeating myself, but everywhere you go here, the beauty of the place just takes your breath away. Just how people can tear themselves away from watching the lake and get any work done is beyond me.
Sunset at lake Wanaka

We spotted hundreds of lupin along the banks of lake Wanaka
The simple joys
But Wanaka was only a pit stop on our way to the Franz Josef glacier. We'd heard wonderful things about it and we were excited to see how New Zealand could top this already stunning scenery in front of us.
The Franz Josef glacier isn't hard to get to - but the drive is quite long - especially if you plan to cover it from Queenstown.
Up until then, the weather, which had been so cooperative, decided to turn a bit foul and grey clouds started to roll in. The dive there takes us via the Westland Tai Poutini National Park, which deserves quite a few pitstops. We chose to stop at Fantail Falls.
Fantail falls

So tempting to want to dip your feet in the crystal clear water
The water was so clear , you could see right to the bottom, and the sun turned it into the most brilliant blue colour.
As we got to Franz Josef, the weather continued to get worse, steadily, and we made the 40 minute walk up to see the glacier drenched to the bone.
The rain-drenched blue-and purple jackets making their way up. Purple Jacket was Not Happy. 

Not very inviting, this.
For the first and possibly the only the in New Zealand, I felt a bit deflated when I finally spotted the glacier. We were quite a distance from the ice, and perhaps it was the season, or perhaps its just Global Warming, or maybe a bit of both, the glacier wasn't a patch on what you'd expect once you've seen the Alps, or the Fagaras or the Himalayan ranges.
The glacier in the distance. Yup. That was it. 
The only place where we could spot the famed 'blue ice' of the glacier
In fact, to me (and my little ones), what was more interesting than the Glacier was the rust-orange moss growing on the stones in the region making the landscape quite colourful.
Pretty, no? and I can spot at least 4 different types of Lichen growing on this rock. 

Scattered throughout the banks of the river, at the bottom of the trek.
Frankly I'd be happy to give Franz Josef a miss and a bit more of the amazing Tai Poutini National Park. So, basically, that's what we did during our drive back to Queenstown. we stopped by the Blue Pools and the swing bridges. Unfortunately, the skies had well and truly opened up by now and the blue pools were now a very muddy grey.
The not-so-blue pools
But hey, there was fun to be had at the Swing Brigde and By Golly, a bit of rain was not going to stop 3 cheeky moneys from bouncing around.
3 monkeys at the end of the swing bridge
Queenstown had better watch out!


Anonymous said...

Gosh, did the Austrians find no better name for a glacier in the other corner of the globe??? :-))
Great pics!! Monti

Rajni Iyer said...

:) oh well, do you know the sheer number of places that are named 'chhatrapati Shivaji' in my city?