January 6 -- Nelson

written by bryan on January 12th, 2009 @ 01:53 AM

Bryan from Nelson

We woke up very early again this morning – we had rebooked our helicopter flight for 7AM. We checked the sky – it was cloudy, but not enough to stop the flight.

Originally we had booked a cheaper flight, but the 7AM flight was the full meal deal, tours of Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, a flight up to Mount Cook and a glacier landing.

Our flight gave us glimpses of the three largest glaciers in New Zealand. Tasman is the longest, at 29 kilometres and is similar to a Canadian glacier. Fox and Franz Josef are unique, though. They live in a tropical rain forest environment, moving very quickly. Fox has a 6 by 6 kilometre nevé, or collection area. The base of the glacier is close to sea level, and the top of it is anchored by Mount Tasman, the second highest mountain in New Zealand at over 12000 feet. The mountain removes the moisture from the strong westerlies blowing in from Australia. The nevé receives 50 metres of snow every year which compresses into ice and slides 13 kilometres down the mountanside to feed a tropical rainforest.

When we started our ride they warned us that we may not get the full experience, but once we got above the cloud layer we had a fabulous view. I hope the pictures turn out so you can share the experience.

After our helicopter touched down we caught the bus to Nelson. The was an 11 hour journey to travel 560 kilometres. Part of the length was due to the winding road, but it was the very frequent, long stops that really made the journey long.

We had a sane driver this time who took a little more time going around corners. Bethany picked up some medication for sea sickness, so this was perhaps the first bus journey that Bethany did not get car sick.

Tomorrow we get up early again to catch the shuttle for our 3 day kayaking trip in the Abel Tasman park.

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