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New Zealand Geography Expedition – Franz Josef

To see the Franz Josef Glacier video CLICK HERE

On the 2nd April, we travelled from Te Anau to Franz Josef Township. We left at 7am and drove through the morning mist and admired the sun as it rose over the surrounding mountains. It wasn’t long before we stopped in a town called Wanaka. It was a beautiful town, which boasted a Subway and fantastic views over the lake. We also stopped at Thunder Falls, a towering waterfall which contributed to Haast river. Further down the way we stopped in Haast; which had a great fish and chip shop, before travelling along a coastal road and finally arriving at Franz Josef at about 5pm. We then all had tea in the Youth Hostel, fortunately for most it was a simple pizza and wedges after the exhausting drive over.

The next day (3rd April) we awoke to an early revision session at 9:00am from Mr Bootherstone and then travelled to Franz Josef Glacier to admire the glacial scenery. After kitting ourselves out with plenty of layers and warm clothing we enjoyed a wonderfully sunny day. Our tour guide, George, first took us through the temperate rainforest and then down the glacial valley and up to the Glacier itself. He showed us in a diagram in the sand, the wonders of the extreme weather on the west coast of New Zealand. It rains roughly 2 out of 3 days in the valley throughout the average year. This meant that there is 30-40m of snowfall accumulating on the Glacier each year. We then stood on dead ice moraine and took a group photo with the Glacier dominating the background. We drew some field sketches for our studies, had our lunches and listened to George’s depth of information on the Glacier and the surrounding geographical area.

We then spent the afternoon delved into our studies, making time for a trip the nearby Fox Glacier the following day.

Andy, Matt and Tim.

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