The New Zealand Glaciers

The New Zealand Glaciers

From Makaroa we traveled from the mountains to the sea by the town of Haast on the way to the Glaciers. More stunning scenery was met along the way, and I was sad that there wasn’t more time to explore this part of the country. New Zealand is about the size of the U.K., and although small when compared to the size of Australia, there is still a lot of ground to cover in the three weeks we allotted for our trip. We’ve already made a promise to return when we have more time, and perhaps without a needy 2-year-old!
Fox Glacier

From the south along Route 6, Fox Glacier is our first stop. It can be seen from the car park, and can be reached on foot in a 30 minute walk.
Fox glacier

The water flowing down the valley from the melting glacier is milky from the finely ground stone the ice makes as it slowly works it’s way down the mountain.
fox glacier

Glaciers are formed from layers of snow that get compacted from years and years of accumulations. The snow at the bottom eventually gets compressed to solid ice and flows slowly down the mountain. As it moves, it carries rocks and boulders down the mountain, and slowly carves a path to its end. During past Ice Ages, glaciers flowed all the way to the sea, carving many landscapes around the world, but in warmer times like these, glaciers are not as large and powerful as they once were.
fox glacier

Although it is hard to see from the dirt on top of the glacier, the inner core of the glacier is a deep blue.
fox glacier

The terminus of the glacier was roped off to keep tourists from getting hit on the head from falling rocks and ice. I heard this glacier moves up to 3 feet in a day, so things are falling all the time. I could even hear the ice creaking as it slowly moved down the mountain.

I waited at the end of the glacier looking for a large chunk of ice to fall off. As I waited, I realized I was watching ice melt, and headed back to the carpark.
franz josef glacier

The Franz Josef Glacier is a 30 minute drive north of the Fox Glacier, and is best seen after a short walk from the car park. Since we wore out the little girl from the walk to the last Glacier, I took a quick solo hike to see the Franz Josef.

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