better late than never 8: so long NZ, and thanks for all the fish
For the “wow” finish to this recap of last year’s trip to New Zealand, here are some pictures of two of the most amazing locations we visited: Fox Glacier and Milford Sound.
We took a guided tour and hike on the glacier, dropped off by helicopter high up on the glacier’s upper area. Our tour guide was a Nepalese Sherpa who had also climbed on Mount Everest, so we were in good hands. Even so, there was a large case with emergency supplies (tents, food, medical supplies, etc) in case we ended up being stranded overnight.
We were also provided with crampons, strap-on steel claws for our boots. Without them, it is literally impossible to stand up on the glacier’s surface, which is (obviously) solid ice. Even with them, you need to take care while walking to take short strides and step down firmly to let the crampons get a good grip.
We were warned by our Sherpa very seriously that if we dropped anything (camera, phone, scarf, …) to just let it go. The most common cause of accidents is someone lunging after a dropped item, slipping, and then sliding along after it toward some deep crevasse. He told us that if we dropped something, we could just pick it up at the “lost and found” at the bottom of the glacier, in oh about 80 years :-).
Potential dangers aside, it was an amazing place. Our guide led us through ice caves where the light filtering through becomes a deep blue glow. The picture below is not enhanced — it really was that blue!
The other most-spectacular place we visited was Milford Sound. To get there we drove up through a glacier-carved valley, then through a tunnel, then down the glacier-carved valley on the other side, down the to Sound. You can see the tiny road ahead of us in this picture. At this point, before we reached the tunnel, I’m thinking “the road goes through that??” :-)
Apparently this is one of the raniest places in New Zealand, but we were fortunate to have clear sunny skies
Here’s Nancy taking in the gorgeous morning blues from our boat tour, when we saw the seals and dolphins.
Farewell, New Zealand! Our two weeks there were packed with adventures, but there’s so much more that we did not get a chance to see, especially on the North Island, where the Maori culture is especially strong. Maybe someday!