From Christchurch to Franz Josef Glacier
A very special train ride was on the cards today; the Tranz-Alpine Express, starting from Christchurch Railway Station. The seats are comfortable and all have panoramic views but in spite of that I opted, as soon as possible, to make my way to the open-air observation platform, where it was standing only. After crossing the Canterbury Plains we passed through the Waimakariri River and the Gorge before reaching Arthur’s Pass, where we alighted.
We rejoined our coach at Arthur’s Pass and continued south on Highway 6, along the western coast. A stop for lunch in Hokitika allowed me to try the local speciality, whitebait pattie. It is probably what we would call an omelette and the whitebait was quite different from the British variety. We were now in sandfly territory.
Our final destination of the day was a fern lined walk to a viewing point near the foot of the Franz Josef Glacier.
The Tranz-Alpine Express
Train tracks across the Canterbury Plains heading towards the southern alps
The Waimakariri River and Gorge with beehives on the right
The river meanders on its way …
… and narrows at the gorge.
A railway bridge crosses the gorge.
The train takes a bend in the track.
A small pool by the trackside
The Road from Arthur’s Pass to Hokitika
Steep slopes covered with Rata
A small tunnel over the road on a steep sided valley
Red flowering trees and red earth
An unusual purple flower. Can anyone help identifying it?
Hokitika clock tower
Beach sculptures created by the sea
The different stages of working with greenstone (jade)
Ferns, Lichens and Moss
Pukura. A giant sandfly seen through the coach window
Footpath to Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier shrouded in mist
The author at the glacier
Chris takes a photo of the Franz Josef Glacier.
Tiny ferns in the undergrowth
St Joseph’s Maori Girls’ College Choir – Pokarekare Ana