Monday, February 20, 2012

Glaciers & Pounamu

 Pink highlight is where we stayed & the blue highlight are places we stopped at,clicking on images will enlarge them

 It was a bit damp when we got up, drizzling enough to be a pain, it was 13 degrees at 8am.All I could think of(because of the weather at that moment)was we should have done the glacier yesterday as it was a lovely. Anyway…we arrived at the glacier about 8.30am only a short drive & could see these couple of birds just walking around the car park…Peter said they were Keas(which they were)so snapped a few photos, they weren’t bothered by us at all.

Kea & Chick

Started off on the walk to the glacier, there were huge mountains on our left & a river bed. The walk was fairly easy, the path is checked each day before all the tourist groups arrive to make sure it is safe & any rocks put back in place across the small streams you cross.

 These cliffs were on our right as we walk to the Glacier

We found this out by asking a ranger who started out just after us what he was doing. The viewing area is roped off so you can’t walk on the glacier;only tourist company’s do guided walks on the glacier. We were lucky we arrived when we did as busloads of tourists turned up; it looked like they were going on the glacier walk as they were with guides.

We filled up at Fox Glacier on our way back from the Glacier $2.22 a litre, mostly been around $2.12 for fuel. Lake Matheson was next on our agenda, went there back in 1979 as well, time to revisit. The Lake is famous for its near perfect reflections of Mount Cook.

  It’s a really nice walk through rainforest to the Lake, disappointed the weather was a bit over cast & the chances of getting any good photos might be difficult. The walk took us about ¾ of an hour return, an  easy walk.

I was able to get a few photos of reflections on the Lake from a couple of different angles, Peter actually snapped away with the other camera & got a few nice shots as well.Clicking on this link will take you to an old photo I took of Lake Matheson in 1979.

 Lake Matheson

The temperature was now 15 degrees & the day looked more promising. We decided to have a quick look at Franz Joseph Glacier ,as it wasn't too far from the main the road,it was quite wet now,so we walked until we got to the first view point,took a photo then went back to the car.

Hokitika was where we were going to stay the night,found a small Motorhome camp $25 night by chance. This place was behind someone’s house & you used a bathroom & toilet attached to the residence, but it was close to town, the other parks were either end of the town, a bit too far to walk.

The weather was great, actually quite warm, the worms were biting now, so we decided on pizza for lunch at Fat Pipi, we had ½ & ½ T-Rex & Kung Fu chicken, absolutely yummy. They were doing renovations outside to make an outside dining area (which will look great when finished) the owner was doing the work & every now & then he’d come in & wash up. Very casual atmosphere as he was dressed in work gear, shorts & navy work singlet.

We went to the Mountain Jade shop because they did a tour of their workshop, the girl doing the tour told us the Maori  legend as to how Nephrite Jade or Pounamu as the Maori call it came about. Only New Zealand Nephrite Jade & Bowenite can be identified as Pounamu. New Zealand Nephrite Jade isn’t mined it is alluvial & is usually discovered on or near the coast after heavy rains.

They had many lovely pieces of Jade jewellery various price ranges. The Jade that was imported didn’t seem to be as expensive as the New Zealand Jade & there were some exquisite pieces of jewellery made from that.

Peter then went to have a drink while I looked at more Greenstone stores & the Paua shop, which had numerous beautifully crafted pieces of jewellery. I met up with Peter after I had my fill of shopping & we went for a stroll along the beach.

Picked up a few stones of the beach looking for my piece of Jade, I either have a piece of Greenstone or a piece of Green Stone, any way a souvenir.

They had recently had a driftwood sculpturing contest & some of these were still standing

 One of a few sculptures around town

We had seen someone sitting on this chair while we were walking along the beach,I thought it was just an old armchair,it is actually cement.

We had left over pizza for tea with cheese & biscuits, the end of a lovely day. In hind sight we should have stayed an extra day, so many walks & other places to see, just the town its self was lovely.

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