Saturday, January 25, 2014

Austrian visitors get a taste of antarctica - sort of

Saturday, January 25, 2014
oldbearnews editor

Tja - such is life - Mamabear feeling decidedly unwell so opted for a day in bed.  A bummer on your holiday!! That just meant that the 5 of us packed up after breakfast and left for the Ice - urm - glaciers.  First up though - a new-ish place to visit. A walk amongst the tree-tops near Hokitika. This has been in place for just over a year now and offers a walk 25-35 meters above ground - giving you a completely different view of the Forrest.  So far all we have seen is from ground up - so it is grand to walk amongst the tree-tops.  As you can see the contraption is quite sturdy.  Bernhard who has height issues was able to navigate the whole walk and enjoy the views.   When we arrived early in the morning we were the only people on the walk - and that was just dandy as we could hear a Bell-bird / Tui / and wood pigeon go past - well - that is if you discount the 1000's of Cicadas chirping away. T he views and angles are just stunning - and yet I have to say the BEST time todo this particular walk would be on a clear winters night - because - then the mountains in the distant have snow on them and that against a blue sky is just  stunning to see.
Everyone took pictures - even the Tour guide - and please - no further comment needs to be made about the size of lenses compensating in other areas!!  It is a 75-300mm lens - and if I had the cash I would happily splash out for a 100 - 450mm lens from Canon - hmm that would require a tripod to operate!! ah well - maybe Santa may oblige at a future Christmas event
You can see from the smile that this chap was in his element.  It is more of a question - what else can I take a picture of - here or here ??  - no wait both there and then from there to here.  In fact it is really a privilege to walk at a 30 meter height of a Rimu tree.  To think it has taken that tree to grow for nearly over 100 years to get to this size and we can walk next to it - is just - breath taking!!
The view out to the lake! It is grand and has to be said - this particular part of the walk is cantilevered i.e. there is no support underneath.  It does move a round a bit - especially if people walk on it, but no more then a decent 3.5 earthquake.  I suspect it has to (move around that is) in order to maintain a structural integrity!
I don't know what's with the signs - but as ordered - this tour-guide can pose . . . . .
Spot the Bellbird!!!
Some where in the middle there is the extra tower that gives you total height.  Hmm this is my second visit and yet to see a blue sky - darn!! We did climb up there and the view - trust me - is staggering!
Looking down at 10 meter high Ponga's!! Love the green canopy and the shades.
There is a reason why I have the zoom-lens -  one it lets you snap people in their natural state - (not being self conscious) AND you can do some good stuff around animal and plants.  This is the same tree as in the picture before (bottom right)
So sometime you just have to try different things - sometimes you just have to experiment - so this just comes under the - "lets see which camera is working better" category????  Or was it under "Boys and their Toys?"
Spotted further along a native Koru!! Nice curly roll and promising well - check this out --->  The koru (Māori for "loop") is a spiral shape based on the shape of a new unfurling silver fern frond and symbolizing new life, growth, strength and peace. It is an integral symbol in Māori art, carving and tattoos. The circular shape of the koru helps to convey the idea of perpetual movement while the inner coil suggests a return to the point of origin.

Koru can also refer to bone carvings. Those generally take the shape of the uncurling fern plant. When bone is worn on the skin, it changes colour as oil is absorbed. The Māori took this to symbolize that the spirit of the person was inhabiting the pendant. When someone gives a pendant to someone else, it is the custom that they wear it for a time so that part of their spirit is given as well.
The koru is used in a stylized form as the logo of Air New Zealand and as an iconic symbol of New Zealand flora.  Here endeth today’s lesson - moving along

So from there - having exhausted the cameras - it was on to the Glaciers.  We whizzed past Franz Joseph Glacier (so aptly named after a old Austrian Kaiser dude) and ended up at Fox Glacier.  The town there solely exists for the tourist trade, AND sits right smack-bang in the middle of the MAIN Alpine Fault line.  The steep cliffs in this shot speak of the advances the glaciers had made during the past few hundred years.  It is now in retreat - but at some stage it was right down to the Ocean - some 8 km away.  In any case - you can walk almost right up to it unassisted - and if you pay the right kind of cash to the right kind of people they guide you on to the ice itself - or even FLY you up to the top!!  We decided that after some hours in the car we would walk - so two or three river crossings later we arrived at the terminal of the Ice - along with the boundary rope and warning signs not to go any further as it is to unstable and dangerous.

This image gives you a perspective how large the ice actually is - spot the two walking in front of the Fox Glacier.
Looking back down the valley again!!
Hmmm it was beginning to be a hot day - we could have some ice ourselves to cool down.  This particular Ice pack is 20 years or so old - it takes that long for it to work its way from the top of the mountain to the bottom!!
Ahhhh the obligatory group photo - well - we can now say - been there - done that - AND we got proof . . . .. 
This is the only ICE I want to consume - and refreshing it was too.  While there, I also bought some post cards and - yes - I got some badges of the location for the blanket!!!!  Yesss
Nothing further needs to be said - other then each image tells its own story and this one tells PLENTY!!  :D

PS - thanks for relieving the driver of his driving duties - much appreciated!!
Along the coast the wind blows - and blows and blows and blows and . . . .   so much so that the trees grow accordingly - in a decidedly urm windy position.  The second one on the right looks like a horse or giraffe (ok - with a bit of imagination)
The other image where nothing needs to be said . . . .  . . . . 
After a hearty dinner out the two Kiwis decided to head home early for a (hopefully) decent nights sleep.  Meanwhile the Austrians went back to the beach to great the sun again - and - as yesterday - it did it's best to hide itself from the final act.  This did not let them stop from sampling the temperature of the water from the Tasman Sea (and I was told later HOW cold it was).  While there seems to be some sun - it dipped - yet again - behind a bank of clouds out at sea!

The only positive thing after this is / was that with the help of some tablets I slept like a ancient Rimu log from 9pm right till it was time to get up (7am) again and drive back again over Arthurs Pass to Methven!  Yay!!!

Have fun

 bear print

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