Monday, November 5, 2012

Climb West-Coast Glaciers

Executive summary by darmansjah

The west coast of New Zealand’s South island is home to two glaciers, Fox and Franz Josef-great rivers of ice that descend the steep sides of Mount Tasman and Mount Cook, making their way through the rainforest of the Westland National Park to the sea. They are among the most dynamic glaciers in the world-moving up to a metre a day, which is ten times faster than regular valley glaciers – leaving dramatic glacial valleys in their wake. Franz Josef is known to be particularly scenic, and it’s possible to hike through the surrounding forest and even on its surface. Take a half-day, small-group walk on Franz Joseph with experienced guides (US$94, with boots, jacket and other equipment supplied;, or you can ’heli hike’, where you’re lifted high up on the glacier and can explore the blue ice-caves, columned seracs and other pristine ice formations on foot (US$305; website stay at the wisteria-draped Holly Homestead B&B. Built with native timbers in the 1920s, it offers rooms with alpine views (doubles from US$155;

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