Photos from New Zealand - Mark Jones Fotopage

By: mark jones

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Monday, 26-Jan-2009 04:15 Email | Share | | Bookmark
South Island Trip Day 7 - Lake Matheson (Reflection Island)

Ok, just down the road from Fox Glacier is a lake called Lake Matheson which is famous for reflecting the mountains that surround it. Its about a 10Km hike around the lake, but coming up to sunset its nice way to relax after spending the morning and afternoon hiking on the glacier. Just a shame it was a bit cloudy

Tuesday, 20-Jan-2009 07:10 Email | Share | | Bookmark
South Island Trip Day 6 - Franz Josef Glacier

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Both Franz Josef and Fox have organised hiking trips on to the glacier. The half day one i did on Franz Josef only goes a few hundred metres up the ice, but you can also do a full day, or heli-hike which means flying higher up and then walking.

You approach the glacier by walking up the boulder strewn valley where the ice had been previously. Its roped off about a half kilometre from the face and only organised trips are supposed to go further. Lots of people ignore that, but the day after i was at Franz Josef, 2 brothers at Fox ignored the ropes and went up to the face and were killed when tons of ice fell off the face and crushed them. So you gotta be careful, accidents happen even on the organised trips. the group in front of us had someone break a leg and have to be airlifted off the face!. With crampons on its quite easy walking up the ice, but there are steep parts. The organisers of the trips have built walkways and staircases on lots of it, but becasue its constantly melting, they take a pick on each trip and make modifications as they go along. The bottom part of the glacier is pretty grubby, because of all the rock brought down the valley by the ice. Apparently it takes on average about 65 years for something at the top to travel the 12 km or so down the glacier. As you get higher, you get past the dirty parts, and the blue ice is pretty spectacular.

Sunday, 18-Jan-2009 04:54 Email | Share | | Bookmark
South Island Trip Day 5 - Glacier Country

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OK, drive down the West Coast from Hokitika, and you get in to glacier country, the 2 most famous being the Fox and the Franz Josef.
Fox Glacier is fed by four alpine glaciers, and falls 2600 metres on its 13 kilometre journey towards the coast.
Franz Josef Glacier is approximately 7000 years old, and a remnant of a much older and larger glacier which originally swept right to the sea. It extends 12 kilometres from its three feeder glaciers in the high snow fields of the Alps. The terminal face is a mere 19 kilometres from the sea and just 5 kilometres from the township.

The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers cut through dramatic glacial valleys to flow into temperate rainforest. While many glaciers world-wide have been retreating, these glaciers still flow almost to sea level, making them unique relics of the last Ice Age.

South-Westland lies in the path of a band of wind known as the 'roaring forties'. The weather that flows on to the West Coast is forced to rise over the Southern Alps, thereby cooling and dropping most of its moisture as rain and snow. This process causes approximately 30 metres of snow to fall on the neve, or catchment area of the glacier every year. Snow that is compacted on the neve forms blue glacier ice that is funnelled down the valleys of the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. This flows under its own momentum, forming these 'rivers of ice' which are easily accessible from the Waiho (Franz Josef) and Cook (Fox) river beds.

Although much melt occurs from the surface of the glaciers at lower elevations (the ablation zone), this high snowfall continues to push ice down the valleys at very high rates. This is aided by basal sliding, caused by a layer of water beneath the glaciers, formed by the weight of the ice pushing against the valley floor. Both of these factors cause the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers to have flow rates that are up to 10 times faster than most valley glaciers.


Ill show you pictures ON the glacier tomorrow

Saturday, 17-Jan-2009 07:30 Email | Share | | Bookmark
South Island Trip Day 4 - Hokitika

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Ok, once through Arthurs Pass its a short drive to the west coast and the township of Hokitika. A town at the centre of the west coast goldrush, and founded in 1864. ITs quite small (like all towns in NZ!!!) with a population of 3076. But some nice historical buildings and a fantastic gorge, with some of the bluest water youll ever see (but more of that later


oh but remember, if you go to the gorge, make sure you put on mozzie spray. The sandflies here are incredible. like little midges but with a bite worse than the largest mosquito. Apparently its only the females that bite, they need some protein in blood in order to become fertile!!!. On the day i was there, i had my own harem (and that of all 3076 residents i reckon)

Friday, 16-Jan-2009 05:23 Email | Share | | Bookmark
South Island Trip Day 3 - Arthurs Pass

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OK, so if you want to get from Christchurch on the east coast of the SI across to the west coast, youve got to cross the southern alps, and of the 3 roads across there, Arthurs Pass is the most well known and highest. At an altiutude of almost 1000m above sea level there is snow on the mountains even in the height of summer.

Its a great drive, and lots of photographic opportunities. The population of NZ is so small (4 million) that even on popular highways, there are long stretches where you have the road all to your self.

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