Tasman Glacier Up Close ….
Ahhh …. after a 1 month travel break to revitalize …. I am back once again 😛
Wishing first to all my friends and readers a Happy New Year 2016! Cheers to a Good Start, and starting off with the Right Foot!
In New Zealand, there are 3 likely glaciers that one could get access to from the Southern Alps of South Island: Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier and Tasman Glacier. It is definitely one of the most memorable experience that one could possibly have … to be close to a glacier or on one before they are totally gone by the end of next or the following century! New Zealand glaciers has been retreating since 1890, shrinking in size and accelerating its retreat. As a result, lakes have been formed by the melting glaciers. For Tasman Glacier, we have the Tasman Lake formed and expanding over the years as Tasman Glacier melts with time.Sounds like a geography lesson to me even as our visions were captured by the pristine beauty of the snowy peaks in the distant (one of which is Mount Cook, I suppose it is the mountain in the middle of this photo, at the furthest end) and the broken-off icebergs floating in the lake far away at the other end.
Originally, Fox Glacier was also part of the Must-Go of our itinerary. However we were alittle deterred by the cost of the Glacier Walk requiring a Helicopter Hop that will typically cost from NZD$300-400/adult up. Without a Helicopter ride, there is no way to access both Fox Glacier or Franz Josef Glacier. Alternatively, there is also the option of a custom-built MAC boat that could bring us right beside the Tasman Glacier while setting us back by NZD$155/adult. As we were in a group with me needing to foot the bill for 4 pax, we decided that the health of my wallet was pretty important as well hahaha 😉 That’s how we ended up with “cruise” to Tasman Glacier.To reach there, from Mount Cook National Park or Mount Cook Road when nearing the National Park, take the turn into Tasman Valley Road across Hooker River. For us, our accommodation was by Lake Tekapo, and it was about an hour drive from there. This river has a unmistakable river that is milky in color due to rock grounded into flour by the slowly sliding-down glacier from the slopes of the Southern Alps. Continue until one reach the Tasman Glacier Car Park. However do note that in order to take the Tasman glacier MAC boat tour, it has to be booked either online or via Heritage Hotel located up in Mount Cook National Park. From the car park, it is a short ~1.5km hike to the jetty for the boat ride. Everything along the hiking trail to the jetty is nothing short of scenic! As our guide brought us closer to Tasman Glacier, we could see floating icebergs about, big and small. As of all icebergs, only about 10% of their volume is above water, meaning that the bulk of their mass is underwater. Our guide warned that the danger comes if one is too closed to an unstable iceberg and if it happens to roll-over, bringing a significant percentage of its mass underwater upside … the rest can be left unsaid other than to trust the expertise of our guide to keep us safe 😎 . Below are some photos of the different shapes and sizes of the icebergs that has broken off from the glacier. We got close enough to touch some smaller icebergs in the water, to grab some broken ice floating on the water, and actually taste the ice from icebergs probably thousands of years old! My god, frozen ice from the glacier actually tastes sweeter than water! Yup, below is the chunk of ice I grabbed off the water that was eventually broken into pieces for everyone on-board to have a taste of ancient “ice-cubes” 😆 Plus a close-up photo shoot of Mount Cook that perpetually seems to be covered with cloud at its peak during our whole duration in the lake. I suspect that it could be snow on the peak sublimating into clouds in afternoon summer heat.