Claire & Keef Under A Mango Leaf 06/07 travel blog

Old Bridge Across Glacier River

Rock Surfing

Freezing Me Knackers Off

Freezing The Balls Off A Brass Monkey

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier #2

Scary Ice Things

Where The Glacier's Been

Claire's Crevice

Glacier Crack

Another Big Crack!

The Intrepid Explorer In Glacier Crevice

Alien Landscape?

Mental Ice Climbing

Ice...What Ice?

Top Of Franz Josef

The "Arse" Hole

Keith Stuck In The "Arse" Hole

Keith In Another Hole

Don't Fall

Rough Terrain

Claire's Group On Final Leg

Tomato-Head Was Pleased He Had Conquered The Glacier

Franz Josef High St

Claire on the High St

Keith on High St

Lake Matheson

Lake Matheson #2

Claire at Fox Glacier

Spikey Ice at Fox Glacier

Claire & Keith Under A Glacier Leaf

Radioactive Lake?

You Know When You've Been Tangoed

Home Sweet Home

Franz Josef is a real tourist town and you can see why, it's beautiful. Keith loved it so much he applied for a job as a helicopter-loader but hasn't got the right visa. We stopped just outside the town and went for a bush-walk along a glacier-fed river...freezing.

Decided to finally start doing some adventure activities and we did some glacial hiking. Claire opted for a half day hike as her knee was playing up and she jumped at the chance of having a day away from Keith (the van is small after all). Keith went for the full day and set off at 8am with cramp-ons and ice axes and an ex-forces guide (Troy) who was a bit mental. It's absolutely beautiful up there and we were really lucky with the weather for a change! The clouds parted and the sun shone through and the glacier looked oh so blue. It's like an alien landscape with huge spikes of ice and blue ice crevices with cracks and tunnels opening up on a daily basis as the glacier constantly changes. It is moving at about a metre a day! Keith's group were 'free-hiking' which was hard-work but with cramp-ons you feel like spiderman and can walk up near-vertical walls of ice. It's really cool (no pun intended) and we discovered a new ice cave that the german guys in the group named The 'Arse' Hole and Keith was the first one through it!!

Claire had an easier time, getting chatted up by her guide Brad. All in all it was a knackering but satisfying experience.

Next day we ventured out of rainy Franz Josef, with Keith kicking and screaming cos he wanted to set up a new life as a glacier guide and headed to Lake Matheson. Nothing special really, beautiful and tranquil. You'd love it if you were a meditating buddhist monk i suppose. We then made our own way up to Fox Glacier, it looked impossible to climb so we just admired it from as close as we could get until massive lumps of ice the size of small cars started falling from it. Scary stuff. We then left for Lake Wanaka.

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