(New Zealand Flag)


I drove 112 miles today traveling between Greymouth and Franz Josef.

All of the images below are thumbnails and can be clicked on for a larger image.

Before leaving Greymouth I spent some time at Shanty Town just outside the city.
Shanty Town Shanty Town Shanty Town

4 minute movie of historic Shanty Town outside of Greymouth, New Zealand.

It was a very gloomy day as I traveled south of Greymouth to Franz Josef Glacier.
The weather prevented me from taking the heli-hike that I had planned for the afternoon.
Franz Josef Glacier town of Franz Josef Glacier town of Franz Josef Glacier

Kiwi Greetings!

I left Greymouth this morning and headed south down the west coast of the south island. I visited a place called Shanty Town about ten kilometers south of Greymouth.

Shantytown was constructed and opened in the early 1970s and consists of 30 re-created historic buildings making up a 19th-century gold-mining town.

The township comprises two main streets lined with 30 historic buildings.

The buildings are mostly original and transferred or re-built on site and house recreations of shops from around the late 19th century such as a bank, hotel, butcher, shoe shop, barber, carpenter, and a blacksmith.

The town also contains a hospital, fire station, jail, hotel, church, train station and a post office. All of which are pictured below.

Born out of the desire of the Greymouth community to preserve the West Coast gold-mining history, Shantytown was started by a group of local enthusiasts.

The town is surrounded by native forest, and is one of the region's most popular attractions.

Below is a nice overview of the town.

And below is a little closer look.

Shantytown also contains a re-created narrow-gauge bush tram line that follows a 19th-century sawmill tram track from the Shantytown train station to a stop at the Infants Creek Sawmill and a terminus 1.5 km from Shantytown. I rode the train before leaving Shantytown.

As I continued my drive down the coast I passed through the small town of Ross. New Zealand's finest didn't particularly care for the speed at which I was traveling through his fine community. The fine was $170. I won't clear customs if I try to leave before it is paid. Below is the town of Franz Josef where I am spending the night.

I arrived here in Franz Josef Glacier early this afternoon in time to make the heli-hike I had scheduled for 2:30. You take a helicopter to the center of the glacier and take a two hour hike from there. Of course, as usual that was canceled due to the weather. This is the fourth thing I have had canceled due to weather. There isn't a whole lot to do here if you can't get into the air. The town consists of one gas station, a couple restaurants, a couple of hotels and about ten helicopter companies. I have another helicopter scheduled for 9:00 in the morning. Keeping my fingers crossed.

The weather isn't that bad here. Some blue skies out to the west. But there are low clouds and fog all around the mountains. Look at my picture above, and then look at Wikipedia's picture below of Franz Josef. Quite a difference.

I went out to Franz Josef Glacier and took a couple of the walks they have out there. The picture below is Peter's Pool view out at Franz Josef Glacier. All the pictures I took out there came out awful. The white foggy sky and white glacier were all bleached out like in the picture below. And that was the best of the bunch.

I'm probably going to weigh 500 pounds by the time I get back because I sure haven't been sticking to my diet. When I have an activity canceled I eat to fill the void. Plus no Internet tonight. Good thing I brought DVDs with me to play on my laptop. Also a good thing you don't need power converters for the computer. I brought 3 power converters with me and blew them all up the first day in Australia. They worked fine for a few minutes then got hot, died and never worked again. They worked fine in London last year. Below is my hotel here in Franz Josef.

I guess I have rambled on long enough. Below are the grounds of the hotel and one of my fellow guests.

Until tomorrow,

Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.


First thing Wednesday morning I went up in a helicopter for fantastic views of the glaciers and mountains.
The first thing we did was fly up the face of Franz Josef Glacier.
Franz Josef Glacier top of Franz Josef Glacier Southern Alps

Once on top there were fantastic views of many mountain peaks of the Southern Alps.
Mount Cook on top of Fox Glacier Mount Cook

After landing on the top of Fox Glacier we flew down the face of it and back over to Franz Josef Glacier for landing.
me on top of Fox Glacier Fox Glacier town of Franz Josef Glacier

11 minute video of New Zealand's Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier.

I drove 160 miles today traveling between Franz Josef and Haast.

After the helicopter flight I walked around Lake Matheson and then walked to the face of Fox Glacier.
Lake Matheson town of Fox Glacier me at Fox Glacier

Wednesday afternoon it was a very scenic drive down the west coast of New Zealand on Highway 6.
one of many one lane bridges Bruce Bay Lake Moeraki

There were many nice views of the Tasman Sea.
Knights Point Lookout Tasman Sea @ Ship's Creek Tasman Sea @ Ship's Creek

After checking into my motel in Haast I drove down to Jackson Bay.
Jackson Bay Jackson bay Jackson Head

Hello North America!

Today was a FANTASTIC day. First thing this morning before I left Franz Josef Glacier I finally got up in the helicopter. When I woke up this morning I doubted it would happen because there were low hanging clouds everywhere. The picture below was taken a couple seconds after takeoff.

We immediately flew up the face of Franz Josef Glacier.

It didn't take but a second or two and we were above the low hanging clouds. The picture above and below were taken within a few seconds of each other.

We continued our climb up the face of Franz Josef Glacier.

Below is looking down into the valley from the top edge of Franz Josef Glacier.

There were now clear blue skies and snow covered mountain peaks in every direction.

Below we are looking back on the top of Franz Josef Glacier.

The mountains of the Southern Alps are revered by the local Maori people.

We are flying over Westland Tai Poutini National Park which extends from the highest peaks of the Southern Alps to a wild and remote coastline. It borders the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park along the Main Divide. The park includes Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier.

Below we are looking up at Mount Tasman and Mount Cook from the helicopter.

Below is Mount Cook.

Again, I have probably included way too many pictures, but it was so beautiful.

Below we are at the top of Fox Glacier looking down into the valley below.

After flying around the mountain peaks for about 30 minutes we landed on the top of Fox Glacier. Below we are getting ready to set down on the top of Fox Glacier.

Below is me standing on top of Fox Glacier.

Below you can see a couple helicopters parked under Mount Tasman.

Below is a nice close look at Mount Tasman from the top of Fox Glacier.

Below you can see another helicopter coming in for a landing.

Below I am standing on the top of Fox Glacier looking toward the edge.

Below I am looking up at Mount Cook from Fox Glacier.

We spent about ten minutes on top of the glacier before getting back on the helicopter. Below we are now back in the helicopter after just lifting off from Fox Glacier.

Below we are flying down the face of Fox Glacier.

Below is our final look at Fox Glacier before sinking below the cloud deck.

After flying down the face of Fox Glacier we then flew back around to Franz Josef. Below is Highway 6 where I will be traveling later today.

Below is the town of Franz Josef. The blue roofed buildings on the left is the motor inn where I stayed last night. It was a great flight.

After the helicopter I drove over to Lake Matheson. I was in need of some exercise. Below is a walking bridge on the way to the lake.

I walked around the lake. Below is Lake Matheson.

Next I drove down to Fox Glacier. Below is the small town.

The skies cleared up by the time I got down to the glacier and it was sunny the rest of the day. At Fox you can walk right out to the face of the glacier, which I did.

It's a rocky walk and you have to cross several streams of glacier run off, without any bridges. But it was a lot of fun, it's about an hours walk. I wanted to walk a lot today anyway to work off all this food I have been eating. Below is little ole me standing near the terminus of Fox Glacier.

After I finished with the glaciers it was time to start heading farther south to Haast where I am staying tonight. It's 140 kilometers from Fox Glacier to Haast and there was not one town between the two. Sometimes I would drive several minutes before I even crossed a car coming the other way. The roads in New Zealand are pretty good. The bridges are all one lane. You have to look for cars coming the other way before you cross. Some of the bridges are quite long and sometimes the railroad is in the one lane as well. Below is one of the one lane bridges.

Below are some friendly cows that I met during my drive.

The drive was very scenic. I stopped often as the road often met with the coast. Below is the Tasman Sea at Bruce Bay.

Lake Moeraki is a small lake on the Moeraki River. Highway 6 runs along its western edge. The lake is surrounded by native vegetation and lies within the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site.

Below is the view from the Knights Point lookout toward Arnott Point.

And below is a closer look from this scenic roadside rest.

There were lots of rocky beaches on the Tasman Sea. Below I am exploring Ship Creek.

Below is a look at the crashing surf from Ship Creek.

I got to Haast at about 4:00. I didn't realize how small this town was. One gas pump, a couple small motels and a small grocery store and that's about it. And you wouldn't believe the prices in that grocery store. About a 400% markup. Below is the Heritage Park Lodge where I am staying.

After I got settled in my room I drove down to Jackson Bay about 50 kilometers south of Haast.

I took another walk down there. A lot of sand flies and mosquitos here. I used some insect repellent, I hope it worked so I'm not scratching in the morning. It was about a twenty minute walk out to Jackson Head which is in the picture below.

I then walked back to Jackson Bay. It was very peaceful. Very few people around.

Here a fishing harbour has survived since the early pioneer days of seal hunting.

It was a fun day. I managed not to break any more New Zealand laws. I am driving to Queenstown tomorrow where I will be for the remaining five days here on the South Island. You'll be getting this email late again because no Internet again tonight.

Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.

Click above to continue to my next adventure, QUEENSTOWN.

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