Glaciers Among Palm Trees

For some reason the west coast beaches warrant only a small paragraph in the guide books. This is a vast oversight on the part of said guide books. Huge waves crashing against sea stacks reminiscent of the Oregon coast, palm trees and the perfect climate. We stopped to check out pancake rocks, whose clever name only succeeded in making me hungry. So, as a reward for not biting into one of New Zealand’s national parks, we bought ourselves pizza. Thank you Do Duck In Bakery for your reasonable prices.

Our drive along the coast presented us with our first one-lane, share-with-trains-and-sheep, bridge. Luckily we survived and were able to see another beautiful dusky pink sunset.

The next day marked an important life milestone…first glacier encounter. Franz Josef glacier looks like a mad rushing flood of ridiculous proportions, frozen in time by Superman, just in time to save the city. We were able to hike fairly close to the terminal face (ice in normal people speak) and contemplate what would happen if a huge chunk of ice decided to fall. Its worth noting that these monstrous (and growing) glaciers share an ecosystem with palm trees, rainforest and the ever present cause of my sunburn.

All of this talk about ice has made me hungry for one of my favorite New Zealand discoveries: Hokey Pokey Ice Cream. No, I don’t know what it is either, but it is delicious. So we bought a liter and took it over to Lake Matheson. In an idyllic moment, we ate and stared at Mount Cook (NZ’s largest peak) and as the sun went down, the lake’s surface turned to reflective glass, mirroring the pink snowcaps of the Southern Alps. I wish you were here to see it.

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