lisaandtony

Mar 292011
 

Kuhio Shores Condos

Total Miles Traveled: 70,793

So, yes – we’re on our way home.  Bummer.  But, we’re going to do it in style, darn it!  We’re using all the airline miles we’ve got left and flying home via a layover in Hawaii.

But first, a stupid travel mistake you shouldn’t make.

So, there’s a thing we all know as the international date line.  Well, when you fly over it going east, depending on the time you leave, you may end up in, well, yesterday.  So, we arrived in Honolulu thinking we needed to rush to our next flight to Kauai, but in fact, we’d gone back in time one day and were flying out the next day.

After a mild bout of panic, we used some of our points to stay at a Starwood hotel in Waikiki.  We’d both been to Waikiki over 20 years ago and so we couldn’t remember much.   It was a really beautiful spot with tons of shopping, but way way overcrowded.   Know before you go!  Here’s an example of what I’m talking about – look at all these people trying to surf.  If I had a wider angle lens, you’d see even more people out there.  That, and the pool loungers were spaced about an inch apart from your neighbor.  Dude, this sucks!

100s of surfers = not fun!  HAHA

But, we made it to Kauai the next day and settled in to our vacation rental condo on the south side of the island in Poipu.  It’s a really great deal, by the way – check out VRBO.com or Homeaway.com the next time you head to Hawaii or any other vacation destination.   There seem to be condo owners always willing to rent out their homes.

Our condo was pretty awesome.  It was right on the water and there were always green turtles feeding just beyond the rocks.

Turtles feeding outside our condo

On another day, we took a little drive around the small island.  It’s only an hour and a half to the north side.

Kiluaea Lighthouse, Kauai

Tunnels Beach, Kauai

Tunnels Beach, Kauai

There were some big swells that day so some of the beaches were closed.  You wouldn’t want to go near the surf anyway because you could see the sucking action just off shore.

Tunnels Beach, Kauai

Here’s Ke’e beach west of Princeville.  Really nice spot.  Dramatic cliffs, but nasty waves and wind at the time.

Ke'e Beach, North Shore Kauai

And of course we went scuba diving.   You should know by now that we’ll dive pretty much anywhere there’s a dive shop.   In Kauai though, we did some training – we became certified Rescue Divers!   What does that mean?  We’re trained to help search for and rescue divers in trouble and can provide emergency first response care.   It was a lot of scenario based training – situations like what to do when someone freaks out and rips out your regulator or tries to climb on top of you to stay above water.  Highly recommend the class for divers who want to feel more confident in the water (but you need to be advanced certified first).

We did take some time out for fun diving and we were impressed with the sea life we saw.  While there weren’t many corals, the animals seemed to be bigger here than in other places we’ve dived.   Huge lobsters…

Spiny Lobster, Plate Lunch, Poipu, Kauai

Big trumpetfish…

Trumpetfish, Plate Lunch, Poipu, Kauai

There was also macro (little) stuff like nudibranch porn (mating sea slugs)..

Nudibranch Porn!  Koloa Landing, Poipu, Kauai

Flatworms…

Flatworm, Sheraton Caverns, Poipu, Kauai

These spiny things eat hard corals (I think).

Sheraton Caverns, Poipu, Kauai

Our requisite underwater pic:

Sheraton Caverns, Poipu, Kauai

Yes, Lisa’s eyes are really wide open.  That’s because she kept blinking on previous photos.  Here we are in the Sheraton Caverns which are blown out lava tubes.

Sheraton Caverns, Poipu, Kauai

We saw a lot of green sea turtles and they were really really big.  This one we stumbled upon in the caverns, head tucked in to a little cave.   They sleep in the caverns to protect themselves from the big sharks that can prey on them.

Sleeping Green Turtle, Sheraton Caverns, Poipu, Kauai

Finally, here’s a rare find – a dragon moray eel.  Most eels we’ve ever seen are the green and spotted moray eels that look nasty and mean.  This one is super rare and there are a few found at Koloa Landing in Poipu.  They’ve got the antenna and whiskers that make them look like dragons and they’re super colorful despite this washed out photo.

Dragon Moray Eel, Koloa Landing, Poipu, Kauai

And with that, we are on our way home to California!

For all of our photos, check out the slideshow below:

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Mar 212011
 

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Total Miles Traveled: 66,088

Leaving Sydney was a crossroads for us.   We knew we wanted to do some more scuba diving but also that we needed to get back to the U.S. soon.   So, it came down to how many airline miles we had left, and somehow we were able to convince a Continental Airlines agent to let us do an open-jaw ticket from Cairns to Guam to Palau to Guam to Hawaii to L.A to San Diego.  Turns out (surprise!) what we did with our miles wasn’t “legal” but they made an exception since the agent had already offered it to us.

Palau is a remote chain of rocky islands that was the site of one of the most deadly battles (the Battle of Peleliu) during WWII between the Japanese and American forces.  The unfortunate thing is that we didn’t have to fight the battle – it didn’t have much strategic value.

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Palau also happens to be one of the world’s top destinations for scuba diving with vibrant protected coral reefs.  It’s known for big pelagic life (sea animals that roam the seas) like manta rays, sharks, whalesharks etc.  Since the dive sites were somewhat far apart – we stayed aboard the Tropic Dancer, a liveaboard, for a week.   Here are some photos from our dives:

Unexploded shells in a sunken supply ship:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

A baby squid that changed from white to dark brown when I approached:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

These fish are called scads – they were unconcerned with our presence, probably because they don’t taste very good:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Lots of colorful little seafans (?):

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Sharks were very very common – almost too many to count on some dive sites:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

This is a giant trevally or “GT”.  It’s a prized catch for deep sea fishermen:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

A hawksbill turtle posing for a photo.  These are abundant in Palau:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

This fish kept nipping at my the bubbles that were sticking to the hairs on my head without my knowledge:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Colorful soft corals were everywhere:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

A different kind of sea anemone:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Giant clams were also common – some of them were about 3 feet long!

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

A hermit crab at night:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

The friendly napoleon wrasse at the Blue Corner dive site.  This guy was extremely friendly with our divemasters because he’s been fed eggs before and loves them.

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Lisa swimming with the barcode barracuda:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Here’s another shot of the napoleon wrasse.   There may or may not have been an egg involved to get him this close:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Another awesome find – a full grown cuttlefish that would constantly change colors as we floated around watching it.   Really strange looking and fascinating creatures.  If you make a peace sign, it will raise two of its central tentacles as a warning.

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Happily on our way to our next dive site.  Despite it being a tropical destination, the water was still a bit chilly.  Would recommend a 3mm full wetsuit.

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Huge anemones – bigger than anywhere else we’ve dived:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Here I am with fists of bubbles:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Here’s Lisa “hooked in” with her reef hook.  What’s that you ask?  It’s a metal hook that you use to hook on to some dead coral or a rock and it’s attached to a string that’s tied to your BCD.  Why do you use it?  Because the currents can sometimes be so strong that you can barely hang on with your bare hands.

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

A spotted eagle ray.  These guys just glide.  I don’t know how they propel themselves!

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Here’s a video of the eagle rays:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Beautiful blue waters!

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Yes, we were on a boat:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Lisa herds the school of fish:

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

Palau, Diving on the Tropic Dancer

All of the islands were shaped like this:

20110326-P3260003

Finally, this lesson learned is for divers – if you’re carrying a camera when you dive, make sure you have it cinched tightly to your wrist before you dive, or clip it to your BCD.  I lost my camera when I was fiddling around underwater and the current pulled my camera away. I didn’t realize it until I reached for it to take a photo and realized it was gone.  Terrible feeling.

The good news was – someone found it!  But they found it floating FOUR MILES AWAY at another dive site.  Turns out, someone on their boat had lost a camera too and they were looking for it.  I got very very lucky.

Palau

It was a good 10 days in Palau and we would love to go back some day.  Alas, time and money are the limiting factors as always.  But we’re glad we took the plunge and spent the money.  Here’s the full set of photos:

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Mar 132011
 

Sydney, Australia

Total Miles Traveled: 61,992

The Sydney Opera House.   The quintessential symbol of Sydney and one of the postcard shots people take home from Australia.  The unique architecture makes it a fun photography subject, though in person, I’ll have to admit it isn’t as impressive as it is in photos.

Sydney, Australia

A couple photos of the opera house:

Sydney, Australia

The rising moon was just in the right spot:

Sydney, Australia

Lots of geometric patterns to take photos against:

Sydney, Australia

After taking a quick look at the Opera House, we wandered up to the Rocks area which had a street fair going on and tons of people enjoying the sun outside.

Sydney, Australia

Lots of aboriginal street performers…

Sydney, Australia

Oddly enough, the most interesting and memorable thing we saw in our short time in Sydney was this building.  It’s a restaurant/bar COMPLETELY built out of recycled materials – with the kitchen, bathrooms, and rooftop bar built in to the cargo containers you see below.

Sydney, Australia

Inside, the decor is pretty spartan  All the glasses are made out of wine bottles cut in half.  The forks and knives look like they are cut out of the wood tongue depressors doctors use.

Sydney, Australia

Upstairs, above the restaurant, is a rooftop bar with planters that grow all the herbs they use in the restaurant.

Sydney, Australia

And the kicker was the toilet.  Yes, the toilet.  When you flush, the faucet turns on for you to wash your hands as it refills the tank.  And the door to the bathroom?  It’s made out of one of those long plastic folding tables.  Brilliant.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney was a nice city, unique in its own way but not unlike many other cities we had been to.  Some might vehemently disagree with us, but maybe it’s because we’re not really city people.  But, what’s cool about cities is all the creativity and interesting stuff you can find when you really look for it.  This restaurant was a good reminder of that – to go in to a city or place looking not just at the big, obvious tourist highlights, but looking in the cracks, exploring, talking to and paying closer attention to the locals.

Have a look at all of our photos here:

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Mar 112011
 

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Total Miles Traveled: 60,654

Ah, the Bay of Islands.  The last stop in our journey around New Zealand.  Many, many travelers we had met along the way told us to make time for this place.  And we were glad that we did.

If you make it out here, stay in Russell – it’s a quieter town and a great base to explore from.  There’s also a great restaurant called the Gables which serves a mean rack of ribs as well as some more exotic game.

Russell is a beautiful place – great to lay back for a few days.

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

But if you want to be active, there are plenty of activities, including boat cruises, dolphin watching, kayaking… and fishing!  Lisa had never been deep sea fishing before, so we decided to give it a go.

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

We got lucky on our trip out and saw some spinner dolphins up close.

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Lisa caught the first one of the day (fish, not dolphin!!)

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

It’s known locally as something pronounced “cow-eye” or more easily referred to as sea salmon.    It put up a pretty good fight!

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Here I am fighting another sea salmon:

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

It was probably a good 18 inches!

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

We caught maybe 8 sea salmon and many small red snapper.  A very fun day on the water and the best part was filleting the salmon we caught and having it cooked fresh for lunch.

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

So, we agree with everyone else who recommended visiting the Bay of Islands.   Definitely try to make time for it, maybe at the end of your trip!

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Have a look at all of our photos below:

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Mar 072011
 

Photo Credit: GiantBomb.com

Total Miles Traveled: 60,295

MOUNT DOOM!  Yes, it’s the famed mountain of evil in Mordor from the movie trilogy, Lord of the Rings.  And it’s in New Zealand, which, after all of the advertising for LOTR tours, might just as well be Middle Earth.  See the map below – it only lists movie filming sites on just the North Island, which includes the set of Hobbiton.  They’re just starting to film the Hobbit.

Here’s the real Mount Doom (a.k.a. Mount Ngauruhoe) which was chosen for the movie because it’s the quintessential perception of a volcano cone.   Most volcanoes aren’t perfectly formed like this.

One can hike Mount Doom – it’s a tough 3 hour there-and-back hike after you reach the “saddle”.   Alas, we wouldn’t have time to do the hike (you really have to double-time it if you want to make it in a day), nor would the weather permit us.  The wind picked up a lot about 15 minutes in to our hike and clouds moved in to obscure the volcano.

Mount Doom

To get to the Mount Doom trail, you have to climb up to the saddle via a fairly steep trail called the Devil’s Staircase.   It takes about 45 minutes and your heart will be pounding throughout, but it’s very doable.

As you can see, the view is beautiful, BUT we had to contend with nasty wind and cold temps.

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Really windy, really cold and REALLY STEEP = Lisa with a frowny face.

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

After Devil’s Crossing, we reached a high plateau which is basically tundra – frozen ground.

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Up ahead on the ridge, we see a lot of hikers taking in the sights.  We’ll be going there next.

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

These were the views they were looking at:

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Oh, did I mention it was freezing up there?  Here we are at about the halfway point.  Does it get any easier?

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

It certainly is breathtaking, despite the cold and wind…

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

After another climb (beware it’s quite slippery), we come upon the caldera of a volcano, still steaming and very sulphuric.

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

But it isn’t about to get easier, we’ve got to climb to the top of the volcano.  Did I mention the wind?  It’s now even stronger and we’re worried about gusts that could blow us… well… down the mountain. :-(

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

And once you summit the volcano?  It’s straight downhill on a scree.  What’s that, you ask?  It’s loose volcanic gravel.  Quite slippery, but easy to navigate once you learn how to dig in your heels and lean back a little.

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

As you’re descending, you see three sulfuric lakes, a common postcard shot.

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Which are less blue as you get closer…

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

The trail leads around to the right of the lava flow and up the ridge to a lake (you can see the trail on the rand-hand side of the photo).

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

By now, the hike is going to be a lot easier.   You’re more protected from the wind and the steep climbs are over.  Now it’s just managing the downhill stress on your knees.

Here’s a closer look at the lake.  The sun starts to come out, though the wind is still pretty rippin’.   We stopped here for a lunch even though we weren’t hungry.  We were already 5 hours in to the trip and were running on pure adrenalin.

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

The back side of the crossing is a slight downhill, but it goes on for a long long time.  It can wreak havoc on your knees so be prepared to ice down if your legs aren’t strong enough to handle the stress.

By now, the weather was sunny and the wind gone.  We started shedding layer after layer as we descended.  Along the way, you see some beautiful views of Lake Taupo to the north.

Tongariro Crossing - the back side

There was a little stream, but the water looked really gray and minerally.  I’ve never seen water that color except around cement!

Tongariro Crossing, the back side

The grass here is exactly the kind you see in Lord of the Rings.  There were fields of it growing on the mountain. The trail seems like its neverending, and finally you reach Ketatahi Hut where there’s fresh water and lodging if you need it.

Tongariro Crossing - the back side

After you leave the hut, there’s about an hour and a half (maybe more) of downhill through a forest which is nice, but the scenery doesn’t change much at all. Just when you think you’re about to reach the parking lot, there are more steps down, until you suddenly turn the corner and there it is, with other hikers lounging around waiting for their pickup.

All in all, it was a very challenging one-day hike, especially given the weather and temperature. I wouldn’t want to attempt this in bad/rainy weather and would encourage everyone who attempts it to be overly prepared clothing-wise as the weather can change on a dime. Don’t forget your first-aid kit in case of blisters or rolled ankles. But have fun – it’s a beautiful hike!

Here are all of our photos:

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Mar 052011
 

Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

Total Miles Traveled: 60,099

Two weeks on the South Island have flown by and we’ve barely scratched the surface.   Now, we’re on our way to the North Island for our last week.  We’re taking the car ferry from Picton to Wellington, journeying through some scenic sounds and islands.

Along the way, you see little pockets of houses – communities accessible only by boat.   Some are holiday homes for the wealthy.

Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

After 3 hours, we reach our destination…

Wellington

“Welly” is the capital city of New Zealand.  It’s known for its volatile weather – people say it can be downright shitty but when it’s good, it’s really really good.  This, and the grungy artsy feel it has reminded us a lot of San Francisco.   Cuba Street is like a grungy version of the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Wellington, New Zealand

There are a lot of references to Fidel and Havana, but it’s really only for show.  There aren’t any Cubans or Cuban culture here.

Wellington, New Zealand

It’s still funky nonetheless.

Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington, New Zealand

Travel Notes: try the Matterhorn restaurant for dinner.  It’s quite good.  Here’s a nice sunset in Welly the one night we stayed there…

Wellington, New Zealand

Next, we head to Tongariro National Park, the site of Mount Ngarauhoe, or better known as Mount Doom, from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Mar 022011
 

Marlborough Region, New Zealand

Total Miles Traveled: 60,018

Marlborough is not the only wine region in New Zealand, but it is the most well known and exported.  In fact, we hear that because of the unfavorable exchange rate and the more restrictive wine import and distribution laws in the U.S., there’s a glut of New Zealand wines, and that means lower prices.

Marlborough is primarily known for white wines – specifically sauvignon blanc and pinot gris among some other varietals.

Marlborough Region, New Zealand

We chartered a driver and went wine tasting with a nice couple from SF who we had met only a few days before at Abel Tasman Park, Kat and Kurt.

Marlborough Region, New Zealand

So what were our favorite wineries?   We liked pretty much every wine at Forrest and their wines were pretty affordable.  Hans Herzog was also another winner, albeit more expensive.  And finally, though it’s mass produced, Cloudy Bay was very good, especially the Te Koko Sauv Blanc, which had been stored in oak longer than most other sauv blancs.

In wine country, there are also great places to eat.  So we had many fantastic meals.  We tried to eat as much lamb as possible, and it was very clear that lamb is better in NZ.   I’m sure it’s the fact that it’s so fresh and free range.

20110304-P1040703

Outside of drinking and eating, we didn’t do a whole lot and we’re proud of it.  So, not many photos, but stay tuned, we’re headed up to the North Island next.

Mar 012011
 

Abel Tasman Park, New Zealand

Total Miles Traveled: 59,909

Abel Tasman Park is home to one of the most popular multi-day hikes in New Zealand.  It’s known for its secluded golden sand beaches and nice weather.

Travel Notes: We stayed at the Split Apple Lodge – a nice, eco-friendly B&B albeit 10 minutes from both Marahau and Kaiteriteri.  We’d recommend staying here if you’re OK with driving for meals, and if you do, go to Marahau.  The food’s better there, though there are only a couple of options.

Kayaking and hiking are the major activities in the Abel Tasman park area.  So, we did a tour that had both – we kayaked the first part of the day, then we were dropped off at one point in the park, Bark Bay, for a 2 hour hike..  After the one-way hike, we were picked up in another part of the park, Torrent Bay, which was supposed to be the nicest hike in the park.   Unfortunately, there are no roads that go in to the park so you have to take water taxis everywhere or hike.

Abel Tasman Park, New Zealand

Abel Tasman Park, New Zealand

Here are some scenes from the hike:

Abel Tasman Park, New Zealand

Abel Tasman Park, New Zealand

Abel Tasman Park, New Zealand

Abel Tasman Park, New Zealand

One neat thing was how drastically different the landscape looked between high tide and low tide.  This is low tide, where the boats are sitting on the sand.

Abel Tasman Park, New Zealand

The tide was so low that they drive tractors with boat trailers hundreds of yards away from the shore (it’s all sand).  The boat then drives on to the trailer.  Then the tractor hauls it back to land.   We expected to get off at a dock but instead, we stepped off the back of the trailer.

Abel Tasman Park, New Zealand

Take a look at all of our photos from Abel Tasman Park here:

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Feb 272011
 

Punakaiki, New Zealand

Total Miles Traveled: 59,733

The drive up to Punakaiki was a bit ho-hum until we got close to it and started driving along the coastline.

And when you reach Punakaiki, you see scenes reminiscent of the California coastline (and LOST — doesn’t the rock below remind you of the four-toed statue?).

Punakaiki, New Zealand

I liked this photo because of the sheer size of the cliffs compared to the little boy playing on the beach.

Punakaiki, New Zealand

So, the big attraction in Punakaiki are the blowholes and “pancake” rocks.

Blow hole, Punakaiki, New Zealand

Here are the rocks again.  They’re limestone eroded by years of rain, wind, and surf, so that they look like stacks of pancakes.  Quite an unusual sight and a neat stop if you are passing through.  It’s only a 20 minute walk from the road.

Punakaiki, New Zealand

Punakaiki, New Zealand

Along the way, you’ll see little flightless birds like this one.   We thought it might be a kiwi at first, but were then told that kiwis only come out at night and are super rare.  This here is a “weka”.  They’re very inquisitive and, like chickens, they’ll eat anything.

Weka - flightless bird, like a chicken in some ways

The sunset at Punakaiki:

Punakaiki, New Zealand

Next, we drive up to the north of the South Island to Kaiteriteri, and visit the Abel Tasman National Park for some hiking and kayaking!

Here’s a slideshow of all of our photos from driving up the West Coast and Punakaiki Rocks:

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Feb 262011
 

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Total Miles Traveled: 59,583

Another highlight on New Zealand’s South Island: its glaciers – Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier.

Since we had hiked on a glacier in Argentina (Perito Moreno), we were excited to do it again.  This time, though, we decided to do a “Heli-Hike” tour of Fox Glacier, where you fly up to the middle of the glacier and hike around for a couple of hours.

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

It would be our first time in a chopper and it offered some fantastic views:

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

But next time we go in a helicopter, we’re going to take our motion sickness meds.  Though it was only a few minutes, we were already starting to feel nauseous.  A few more minutes in the chopper and we would have had, umm, issues.

Walking on a glacier is an awesome experience.  We’d do it again in a heartbeat.  It’s always changing because of the ice melting, cracking, moving down the mountain.   And there are just really beautiful views:

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

The minerals in the water make the ice look super blue…

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Here’s a really cool example of how a glacier is living and constantly changing.   We could hear water running at the bottom of this crevasse so the guide started chopping off hunks of ice to toss in to see how long it took to hear a splash.  Fun, right?  I know.  It WAS fun.  And it took 4-5 seconds to hear the splash.  So pretty deep.  You wouldn’t want to go jump in for a swim.

Deep hole with water running through the bottom

So about an hour later in to the hike we came back upon the same crevasse…  OK, so maybe we created this pool from our overzealous ice chunk throwing, but it was surprising how quickly the landscape had changed!

Deep hole plugged up

Here we are with a trusty ice axe:

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

An ice cave:

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Another river:

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

After the hike, we went to check out Lake Matheson nearby.  Nice easy hike and great restaurant called Matheson Cafe.   It’s the only “nice” restaurant in Fox Glacier town and totally worth the splurge.

Lake Matheson, Fox Glacier

The million dollar view from Matheson Cafe:

Mt. Tasman and Mt. Cook

And the sunset…

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

The next day we hiked up to Franz Josef Glacier.   Pretty neat to see the terminal face, but you could probably skip it if you had hiked on Fox Glacier.

Franz Josef Glacier

Here’s a giant cave at the base of the terminal face of the glacier.  Chunks of ice flowed out from the cave which was pretty cool.  We were told that a couple tourists died because they hopped the fence, went in the cave and were killed by falling ice.   Not sure if it’s true, but not a smart move if it’s true…

Franz Josef Glacier

Have a look at all of our photos from Fox Glacier below:

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