West Coast (Franz Josef Glacier, Wanaka, & Westport) - South Island, New Zealand

Pat Dunlap Climbing Franz Josef Glacier
Pat Climbing Franz Josef Glacier
Pat Wayne Dunlap Climbing Franz Josef Gacier New Zealand
Pat & Wayne Climbing
Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
Wanaka West Coast South Island New Zealand
Wanaka on the West Coast 
- South Island, New Zealand
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks Paparoa National Park
Wayne at Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
- Paparoa National Park, New Zealand
Puzzling World Wanaka New Zealand
Puzzling World - Wanaka, New Zealand
Our Clamp Ons Climb Franz Josef Glacier
Our Clamp Ons to Climb Franz Josef Glacier
Girls Women Relaxing Glacier Hot Pools Franz Josef Glacier
Relaxing at Glacier Hot Pools 
- Franz Josef Glacier
Panakaiki Pancake Rocks Paparoa National Park
Panakaiki Pancake Rocks
- Paparoa National Park, 
South Island, New Zealand
Cinema Paradiso Wanaka New Zealand
Cinema Paradiso - Wanaka, New Zealand
Thanksgiving Our New Australian Friends
Thanksgiving with Our New Australian Friends
Pat Dunlap our Hostel Trip Inn Westport New Zealand
Pat in our Hostel (Trip Inn
- Westport, New Zealand

West Coast - South Island, New Zealand (Franz Josef Glacier, Wanaka, & Westport) (11/24-27/2009)

Driving the absolutely BEAUTIFUL West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island is a treat! We hiked up a glacier!

New Zealand's South Island West Coast is one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand (maybe the world) with azure blue alpine lakes, moss covered forests, green valleys, alpine glaciers, and dramatic rocky coastlines (see photos).

After a day of wine tasting, Wanaka made for a nice stopover. The Puzzling World with its Great Maze, Leaning Clock Tower, crazy Tilted House, and puzzle room makes this a fun place to play (see photo). The funky Cinema Paradiso in Wanaka is a wacky place to see a movie at night. You can sit in a Volzwagon Bug car if you would like to (see photo).

Further north, glaciers form where two giant ocean plates converge to create the Southern Alps mountain range. It seems improbable that you could find glaciers on a South Pacific island and ice in a temperate rainforest - only in surprising New Zealand. Two massive glaciers flow to the valley below where they can be easily accessed. We took a rather wet (slight rain) hike to Fox Glacier.

We hiked up a glacier! The next day with great weather, Franz Josef Glacier offered us a chance to take a half-day guided hike up onto and into the cracks of Franz Josef Glacier (see photos). This was an adventure where we donned mountain clothing and champ-on spikes to our climbing boots. Pat was great making much younger folks look bad. 

After our glacier hike, we soaked our tired bodies at the Glacier Hot Pools (see photo). Then we spent our first Thanksgiving away from the USA and had a great dinner with new friends from Australia (see photo).

On the final leg of our west coast of South Island drive to Westport, we walked the beautiful rainforest of the Truman Track and visited the famous strange-looking Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowhole of the Paparoa National Park (see photos). Still a mystery why the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks have this form, the strange pancake-like limestone formations where pushed up by seismic action 30 million years ago to form a pretty amazing slight. 

In Westport, we stayed in the Trip Inn, originally built in 1863, and sat around a coal-burning hearth at night (see photo).

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