Monday April 10th, we are back in Auckland ! What a wonderful journey (almost 7000KM) it has been through a beautiful country with lots of happy and relaxed people. I will try to give you some idea of this beauty although I can only say that many times reality is better than the pictures ! We are happy we could take our time and thus do a part of the many great walks as tramping is definitely the best way to see this country.
Te Wahipounamu was added to the list of World Heritage UNESCO sites in 1990. It covers 10% of NZ’s landmass. The glaciers (Franz Josef and Fox) form the connection between the coast and the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, MT.Cook (3724m).The area contains many of the natural features which contribute to New Zealand’s international reputation for superlative landscapes: its highest mountains, longest glaciers, tallest forests, wildest rivers and gorges, most rugged coastlines and deepest fiords and lakes.
The Maori legend tells of the beautiful Hinehukatere who loved the mountains so much that she encouraged her lover Tawe to climb with her. He fell to his death and Hinehukatere was heart-broken.Her many, many tears flowed down the mountain and froze to form the glacier. Franz Josef glacier is known to Maori as “The Tears of Hinehukatere”. Since April 2012 all glacier walks require a helicopter flight past the unstable terminal face. This is exactly what we did !
The next day we drove to Fox glacier, only 24KM further. We did not go on to the glacier but made several small walks in the area.
We continued our journey to Haast and Jackson Bay all the while stopping for little walks and enjoying the landscape.
After a night of “free camping” in Haast, nice location but infested with sandflies 🙁 we drove direction Wanaka with more gorgeous views.