“Mehemea koe na tuoho, meinga ki te maunga teitei.”

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The mountains around Franz Josef
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The mountains around Franz Josef

Franz Josef is a small town tucked in the Southern Alps with views of the Franz Josef Glacier. The highest peak in New Zealand, Mt. Cook, is a short helicopter ride away from town with views of the Tasman and Fox Glaciers along the way.

Our accommodations in Franz Josef were a little rougher than other places, but the town is more focused on outdoor activities than luxury. I shared a room with three other women and got to sleep on the top bunk!

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Our accommodations in Franz Josef
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The bar at our lodge – Monsoon bar: it rains, we pour
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The mountains around Franz Josef

Walking around town is a bit dangerous – not because it’s crowded. There are only about 4 streets. But the views of the mountains and glacier from town are downright distracting so it’s hard to focus on where you’re going. When we arrived, there was a thick fog hanging out over the mountain tops, so seeing a clear view of the glacier the next day was quite a treat.

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Little church in Franz Josef
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The mountains around Franz Josef
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Maori totem in Franz Josef

I also took some time to walk through a rainforest track just outside of town and was amazed at the dense forest. The climate here is tropical, in spite of the massive snow-capped mountains that tower above you.

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Rainforest walk
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Rainforest walk
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Rainforest walk
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Rainforest walk
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Rainforest walk
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Rainforest walk
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I was fascinated by these spiral-y plants though I don’t know what they are called
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Interesting moss on the rainforest walk
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Koru or spiral is significant for the Maori

Check back tomorrow for pictures from my helicopter ride through the glaciers.

Title quote: Maori for “If you should bow to greatness, let it be to a lofty mountain,” a Maori proverb

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Franz Josef
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The mountains around Franz Josef
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The mountains around Franz Josef

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