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Heading up the West Coast


Peter Braun

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Heading out of Arrowtown I took the Crown Range to Wanaka and the West Coast. Before the crack of dawn I left the place I had called home for the past 6 months. I enjoyed my time and will have memories for a lifetime. Today I had planned to go to the Franz Joseph Glacier where you can see the terminal face and the the West Coast Treetop Walk. 

 

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At Franz Joseph Glacier, after a long four hour drive up the West Coast through Mount Aspiring National Park and Westland Tai Poutini National Park, I finally got a chance to stretch my legs. I took two hikes with views of the glacial riverbed and the glacier. Sentinel Rock Walk was very short and steep, but had great views of the glacial riverbed and a glimpse of Franz Joseph. The longer walk, Franz Joseph Glacier Walk, took me through the riverbed to the terminal face. Today the only was to safely access the glacier is by Helicopter. The end of the walk is some distance from the glacier but I could see how impressive it is. 

 

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Sentinel Rock Walk

 

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Franz Joseph Glacier Walk

 

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After the glacier I traveled up to the West Coast Treetop Walk. A 1.2km walk on an elevated platform 20m (65ft) in the air gives an up close view of the tops of the trees and vegetation. Many plant interactions take place higher up than we can see normally, but with this we can see what is going on. The highlight is the tower which stands 40m (131ft) up with views of the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. 

 

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This evening I am staying in the beach town of Hokitika. A little town with lots to do. I plan on going to the National Kiwi Centre tomorrow for viewings of the Kiwi's, Tuatara, and Eel's. I got to go to the beach tonight and as I got there I remembered the stick art spelling out Hokitika. A cool beach with lots of other stick art made from the washed up branches. 

 

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For the day I put in 503.1km (312.6miles) bringing my three day total to 1626.2km (1010.5miles). Come back tomorrow for another fun filled day.

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