Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Day 27 New Zealand - Franz Josef

Friday 20th March, 2015 - Depart Queenstown

Transfer from Peppers Beacon - Queenstown to Rainforest Retreat.
Transfer Type: Seat in Coach
Pick up: 7:35am
Drop off: 4:25pm

Be at the Athol Street car park 15 minutes before the departure of the coach.

When John called to confirm we were told we would be picked up at hotel then last night we got a note telling us we would be picked up next door at Rydges.
We are there early, as usual. John gets a coffee and we get picked up by George. We are first on the bus. It is really cold out. George makes his rounds and we are finally on our way out of Queenstown.

Coffee break

We make a stop at the Thunder Creek Falls. An extremely tall and easy accessible 96 metre waterfall, Thunder Creek Falls is located in Mt Aspiring National Park, along HAAST Highway

George tells us a story of a young Canadian couple being swept away in the landslides in 2013. Here is a link to the whole story. Her body was found with only the gas tank of the car, he has yet to be found. 

George tells us a story of a young Canadian couple being swept away in the landslides in 2013. Here is a link to the whole story. Her body was found with only the gas tank of the car, he has yet to be found. 
The landslide was so massive that the road has only recently opened 24 hours a day. This is a newspaper excerpt from late 2014. 

SH6 at Diana Falls, between Haast township and Makarora, has been reduced to single-lane traffic from 8am to 6pm, and closed at night, for the last six months after heavy rain in September 2013 caused a major slip at the site.

The remediation work is being carried out by Christchurch-based geotechnical engineering and construction company Geovert; the company which has been involved in several slope rehabilitation and stabilisation projects throughout New Zealand. These include the complex rock fall work on Milford Road, near the Homer Tunnel, and the country’s largest road landslide in the Manawatu Gorge.Work at Diana Falls will be completed in three phases and cost about $2.5 million. The first phase is to progressively work down the face, from top to bottom, removing or dislodging any unstable material. Once this has been completed, construction of the rock catch fences will begin.

This is what Diana Falls currently looks like.

This is the size of the boulders that rushed down during the landslide, it is likely that the young man is buried somewhere underneath.

A pretty cool afternoon refreshment break.

Just some sights on the way.

Arrive Franz Josef The spectacular Franz Josef Glacier descends to just 250 meters above sea level amidst the greenery and lushness of a temperate rainforest. Of all the accessible temperate glaciers in New Zealand, the Franz Josef Glacier is easily the steepest and fastest moving. While many glaciers world wide have been retreating, the Franz Josef Glacier still flows almost to sea level, through a temperate rainforest of ancient podocarp trees and other evergreen species. This combination of ice and temperate rainforest is a unique feature of New Zealand's glacier country, and is an ecosystem
found nowhere else in the world.

Rainforest Retreat
Cron Street, Franz Josef, New Zealand
Duration: 2 nights

Rainforest Retreat is located in the Franz Josef Glacier village, in the heart of New Zealand's
Glacier Country, which is situated on the South Island's West Coast and is part of the Te
Wahipounamu World Heritage Area. There is a choice of Tree Houses which are elevated in
individual clearings. Tree Lodges offer the unique option of your choice of forest floor or raised
into the forest canopy.

The bus drops us across the street and we drag our luggage into reception. We have a tree lodge. It is cute but a little dated. We walk down to get an internet card, only $4 a day.

 The bar and restaurant are extremely inviting and we had dinner there that was excellent!

 Trust me, when we came back for dinner it was packed.


  1. The landslide story strikes close to home. I really like the look of that restaurant!

  2. Jackie, loved reading your post, Franz Josef is so spectacular. I still have as my wallpaper a photo I took of it when we visited in 2012. Enjoy the rest of your tour, hope Milford Sound is on the agenda too.


This blog does not allow anonymous comments.