Daily Archives: December 12, 2009

New Zealand Signage

While I wait for our day 22 pictures to upload, I just want to make a comment on New Zealand road signs. They are wonderful! Many are exactly the same or very similar to signs we see in the states, but the ones that are different are really great.

Then there are signs that are much more direct than those we see in the States; I wish ours were as direct. Like their drunk driving road signs, and road safety signs. Not like MA’s “Over the limit, under arrest” signs, these leave nothing out!

Then there are the comical signs. They’re probably not meant to be funny, but they crack me up.

This sign is EVERYWHERE in New Zealand where we’ve been, second only to speed limit signs. It confused me at first, but once you see if a few times it makes perfect sense. It does not mean that neighboring cars will try to take you out! They’re constantly re-sealing sections of the highways with a gravelly topcoat, which sprays up as you drive by.

This one just looks comical when you first see it. But it makes perfect sense, since there are so many areas where the ground could collapse downhill underneath you.

There’s also a great sign that indicates that pieces of glacier may spontaneously fall and cause huge waves or flooding that could be dangerous! I’ll find the sign soon, since the ferry is leaving!

Edit (12/16/09): I found my own picture of the falling glacial ice sign 🙂

Day 21: Drive to Glaciers

We left Murchison in the AM and drove to Fox Glacier. On the way, we made a stop in Greymouth to check out the Jade museum and exhibit that our guidebook suggested, but it had been bought out and converted into a gallery since publication. We did get a chance to visit a small coop of Jadeworkers, and looked at some lovely things.

We also made a few other stops along the way, although it was starting to rain pretty consistently, so they were shorter stops than we planned. We first stopped at a random beach we saw while driving, which had smooth pebbles instead of sand, and collected some rocks and shells.  It was also quite windy, so the sea was very active and interesting to watch.

Our next stop was planned, at the Pancake rocks. They’re comprised of very distinct layers, formed by stylobedding (which I can’t find a good definition for online, but it relates to the water pressure during formation of the rock from dead marine creatures over long periods of time).   We were there at the wrong tide; at high tide, there are huge spouts of water that come through the blowholes in the rocks.

The pictures are a little dark because of the weather (I’ll fix in photoshop later), so if you click on them you can see larger sizes for more detail.

We arrived at the Fox Glacier holiday park at a very reasonable hour, and got a great parking spot, where our hatch opened underneath the overhang at the bathroom/kitchen building. This was key to our stay, since it rained pretty hard from when we arrived until we left. This was probably the cleanest and most modern park we stayed in.

Not much else to say about today; Eli’s feeling better, but I’m feeling like I’m getting sick, which is usually how it works. As long as it’s not raining too hard we’ll probably still try to do a glacier walk tomorrow. The west coast of NZ is the rainiest area of the country; the glacial region gets around 5100mm of rain a year (over 200 inches!). So the guide company is well prepared to deal with it!