Franz Josef to Queenstown South Island New Zealand

Franz Josef to Queenstown South Island New Zealand

I knew that today was going to be a big day. (This seems to be a recurring theme.) The drive itself on google maps was saying 4 1/2 hours. I can tell you however that is it more like 5 1/2 – 6 hours PLUS stops.

I left relatively early keen on getting some k’s under my belt. I got 500 metres and there was a sign offering a walk to see the Frank Josef Glacier. It is only a 4k drive in and then a 3-4k stroll to view the glacier from the ground.

Walk to Franz Josef Glacier South Island New Zealand

Walk to Franz Josef Glacier South Island New Zealand

Along the walking track there are plenty of signs full of interesting information. The most revealing was a series of sign posts saying where the glacier had stopped decades ago and then another and another and another. The point being that no matter what you blame, the world has warmed up.

Numerous waterfalls small and gigantic are to be seen on the stroll adding to the photographers pleasure.

Waterfall Franz Josef Glacier Walking Track South Island New Zealand

Waterfall Franz Josef Glacier Walking Track South Island New Zealand

Rounding a turn shortly into the walk and you get a glimpse of the glacier. Even at a distance the vibrant blue ice is jaw dropping. I heard that the blue ice is due to air/oxygen having been squeezed out of the water. Would that not make it H2 and not H2O?

I found myself stopping to shoot the river that is roaring down, and I do mean roaring but I think that video would tell the story best. The best shots of the glacier are at the terminus of the track some 750 metres from the glacier face.

 

Walk to Franz Josef Glacier for Closer Look

Walk to Franz Josef Glacier for Closer Look

Why so far from the face? The final sign post shares a newspaper clipping telling the story of two tourists that ignored the barriers and went closer only to be crushed to death by a 10 tonne lump of ice. That was good enough reason for me.

Walk to Franz Josef Glacier South Island New Zealand

Walk to Franz Josef Glacier South Island New Zealand

Franz Josef Glacier South Island New Zealand

Franz Josef Glacier South Island New Zealand

Two hours after the turn off, I was back and leaving but let me tell you it was worth every moment. I had heard about the walk before getting to town but as it was raining constantly yesterday, the idea slipped my mind. There were plenty of people walking in so it seems that allowing half a day would be wise and then maybe lunch.

Back on the road. As usual there was mountains to cross and with that slow going and curves to enjoy. The scenery and vista (is that the same thing?) just doesn’t get boring nor does the wonder of what might be just around the next bend.

I stopped again and again and again (sometimes to get my Fitbit steps done before the hour was up hehe) to grab yet another photo. A few more waterfalls and short walks before coming across Blue Pools.

Coming from the North I pulled into the car park only to find it full and headed on only to find to my delight that there was another car park some 900 metres further south with direct access to the walking track to the pools. Winner.

Just a short stroll down a well maintained track (along with a bus load of other tourists) you come across yet another suspension bridge.

Blue Pools South of Franz Josef New Zealand

Blue Pools South of Franz Josef New Zealand

Blue Pools South of Franz Josef New Zealand

Blue Pools South of Franz Josef New Zealand

Blue Pools South of Franz Josef New Zealand

Blue Pools South of Franz Josef New Zealand

Blue Pools South of Franz Josef New Zealand

Blue Pools South of Franz Josef New Zealand

These bridges are everywhere so this was no surprise but I will admit to not being a fan of swaying and bounding over a ravine. Brave me.

Green must be the new blue in NZ as the Blue Pools are clearly green. Maybe in colder months they are blue. Irreverent. Several heroes were swimming and several others jumping from another bridge into the frigid water.

Time was running out and so was my fuel supply. Note. Fuel in this next of the woods is not plentiful. Rounding yet another bend the enormity of Lake Wanaka thrusts itself into your sense. 191 km2 and up to 300 metres deep. OH MY …. etc. What a sight. More pix! The lake is sooooo blue…. (there goes the theory of the water temp) and it is sooooo big. On and on and on.

Lake Wanaka South Island New Zealand

Lake Wanaka South Island New Zealand

Then you go a touch inland and WHAM, another lake, Lake Hawea. At 141 km2 and up to 392 metres deep, again, that’s a lot of water. As a local had said to me days before, “one thing we aren’t short of here is water”, seems to be true.

Lake Hawea South Island New Zealand

Lake Hawea South Island New Zealand

With 100k to go to get to Queenstown, the fuel gauge is looking sadly ominous. 50K to go and the little E is now flashing. Hmmmm. Not good. What else could I do but drive. I recalled a town called Arrowtown some 15k from Queenstown, maybe I would get fuel there.

I am 5k down that road when I recall that most little townships didn’t have a fuel station. Panic! Arriving in town I drive around but nothing. I see what looks to me to be a local and yes Sireeee. Up the hill and hard right at the roundabout I find an unmanned self serve pump. Happy Dayz but for the price of NZ$2.10 a litre. BTW, there are a lot of this style of pump station in NZ, maybe we will see it soon in Oz.

I promise myself that tomorrow I will come back to Arrowtown for a relaxing day.

Queenstown to my AirBNB with Cynthia and Trevor just 10minutes from town. Views of the lake and good nights rest.

 

#SelfDriveNewZealand #NewZealandSouthIsland #SouthIslandNewZealand

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