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New Zealand – South Island West Coast

Pancakes with some Ice on top

semi-overcast 20 °C
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New Zealand’s geographical and geological situation means that the south west coast receives about 30meters of snow per year. This over a long time means that it is chock full of Glaciers. The two most famous ones were on our list to see, but we made a quick stop in to see the pancake rocks of Punakaiki

We hit the road as soon as we got back from kayaking and made a few stops along the road before pulling in late to roadside stop somewhere along the coastal highway. We actually got told from a guy at the petrol station to make sure we didn’t go all the way to Punakaiki during the dark as the coast road is really picturesque. We were glad to follow his advice as the following morning we had these great coastal views.


We got to the location of the Pancake rocks around about 8.30am thinking that we had missed high tide and the blowholes that come to life at high tide. The pancake rocks are interesting with multiple layers of rock showing the timeline of the sea floor in the area.


We went back to the carpark and saw a sign saying that high tide was actually at 9.45am so we decided it would be fitting to pass the time with serving up some pancakes in our van until high tide to catch the blowholes. The pancakes were yummy, but the blowholes weren’t getting their groove on this morning. When we went back to have a look, there was one chimney spout that gave us some shows, but the main blowhole was not doing much as the swell wasn’t as high or at the right angle or something. A lady showed us some video she got the night before and it was a lot more impressive then.


Luckily the early morning clouds were starting to break up though with the passing time and we got some more shots at the rocks and along the rest of the coastline.


As we got further south into Glacier Country the higher peaks began to rise from the countryside. We pulled into Franz Josef town and checked out for details of the glacier at the information centre before deciding to just go out and have a look at the glaciers rather than paying to hike on them as we have done it before in Norway.


Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier are really accessible being only a 30 min walk from the main road. We walked up to the face of Franz Josef in the afternoon of our time in the area then visited Fox Glacier the following morning. They were cool to see, but we both agree that Perito Merino Glacier in Argentina was much more impressive. The unique thing about these glaciers is unlike the others we have seen around the world, they don’t finish in a big lake, they just crumble onto the rocks and have a little stream coming from below them.



Queenstown was the next destination with some high adrenaline activities on the cards!

Daniel – The west coast was very picturesque and similar in many ways to the pacific coast drive that we did in California. If you are only going to see one of the glaciers in the area, Fox glacier was a bit more impressive I thought

Tanya – Similar to the Pacific Coast, but also at times like Death Road in Bolivia, beautiful. Other than fuel it was good to have a few easy days on the budget.

Posted by dbgomes 02:31 Archived in New Zealand Tagged new_zealand round_the_world

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