Day 3 – Franz Josef Glacier

We have spent one night all ready here in Franz Josef and are staying another tonight. Franz Josef itself is a quaint little town nestled next to the fast flowing Waiho River and surrounded by lush green mountains. There isn’t much within the town itself, mostly hostels and the odd restaurant/bar, but a perfect base for walks. And that is what we did today. We started off with a walk to see the famous Franz Josef Glacier.

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Unfortunately due to heavy rain fall, the track we were hoping to walk that takes you close to the glacier base, was closed as the river had completely covered it. So we weren’t lucky enough to see the glacier close up, however the view from the lookout still proved to be sufficient and after the clouds cleared we got a great view of the glacier flow and the surrounding mountains.

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^^ That little white you see between the mountain valley is the glacier ^^

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^^ It is crazy to think where we stood today, was once covered in snow and ice. Unfortunately due to climate change the glacier has shrunk significantly and is predicted to disappear even more in the future. I’m so glad we got to see it now when it is still so impressive! ^^

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^^ Close up of the glacier ^^

Since we were unable to do the longer walk we had planned, we decided to just follow a few of the smaller trails. This proved to be good as we got to see the glacier and surrounding area from lots of different viewpoints.

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From the glacier we decided to take a drive to explore the small village of Okarito as we had seen a few short trails from here that would fill in our afternoon. The village is located right on the coast and so it was nice to drive down and see the Tasman Sea. From there we took a short, hour long, walk through the dense woodland to the lookout point.

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^^ Blue toadstools!! ^^

DSC_0189^^ The view overlooking Okarito and the Tasman Sea ^^

Back at our hostel now, just warming up and getting ready to head out for dinner. Compared to last night’s weather which was torrential rain, we have so far been fortunate today to avoid getting caught out in any heavy downpours. Let’s hope our luck holds out for the next few days when we head off to Queenstown.

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