The Demise of New Zealand’s Glaciers

How tourists are killing off New Zealand’s glaciers.

The Franz and Fox Glaciers in New Zealand have proven a popular draw card for tourists, who have included it on their bucket list of things to do and tourist operators have been quick to take advantage of the opportunity for years by offering hikes up the glaciers; however climate change has seen the rapid decline in the glaciers in recent years that it is no longer possible to take a hike up the mountains to see them so tourists are being taken up to see them by helicopter and tourism may be to blame if the statistics are to be believed.

There is no doubt there is a correlation between the increased number of tourists and the melting glaciers.

Since 2008 there has been an explosive growth in New Zealand tourism; one of the most popular items on their bucket list is to visit the glaciers. Is any coincidence that it is also during this tourism growth phase that the glaciers have receded at its fastest rate.

New Zealand is so far away from the rest of the world apart from Oceania that the majority of visitors to the country are leaving a giant carbon footprint which is having an effect on the glaciers. In what must be the ultimate insult, tourists are taken up to the glaciers in helicopter.

If only the glaciers had a voice what would they be saying?

Humans flying up to the glaciers for a closer view is no different to strangers jumping on someone’s deathbed.

The government encourages these activities which are hastening the demise of the glaciers.

Why?

Here is the reason. It is because of the goods and services tax which they receive from tourists. It adds up to a fortune.

Tourists travel from far -lung places of the earth to holiday in New Zealand leaving a carbon trail in the process.

But, the New Zealand government will turn a blind eye to the carbon footprint left by foreigners yet point the finger at the mining and farming industries which have been the backbone of New Zealand’s economy for over one hundred years.

What you can do?

You can help the planet by choosing where to take your holidays and to think about what you are spending your money on. It is important to bear in mind that although there is a move away from fossil fuels, many countries who are moving towards so-called green energy are still happy to import goods from countries which are heavy polluters. This is because these same countries provide a huge market for their own produce.

Greymouth Tourist Activities

On-Yer-Bike

On Yer Bike is about 5 kilometres north of Greymouth. It is a tourist business which provides rides on quad bikes through some typical West Coast native forest. The business began in 1997 by Mike and Sue Roper. Prior to the business Mike Roper was a taxi driver around Greymouth. The adventure business is highly recommended by previous visitors as featured on tripadvisor.

The farm where the business is situated has been in the Roper family since 1917 when Micheal’s grandparents, Charles and Violet moved to the area. During the 1960s and 70s Micheal’s parents ran a chicken farm but this ended in 1978 when new regulations made the business non-viable. Cattle and sheep have always been part of the farm operations and still is, albeit a small part these days considering the success of the quad bike business.

During your adventure you will likely come across some of New Zealand’s native birds such as the Weka, Tui, Kereru (wood pigeon), Fantail, and Pukeko

Another sideline to On-Yer-Bike is the cafe where customers are able to drop in for a cuppa and just to add another string to her bow, Sue Roper does crochet and with her other commitments it all keeps her busy.

More than 100 years ago there was a school near the area. It was called “The Camp School,” the name of the district. No one knows how it got its name, but it is probably because the first sawmill on the West Coast was at Coal Creek and “The Cap” may have been referred to the men who were working at the saw mill.

Coal Creek is an area which is prone to flooding. The water sometimes comes over the road near On-Yer-Bike as the creek floods with the volume of water which comes down from the mountains.

Prior to the overhead bridge being built, traffic would have to cross the railway tracks and look each way for oncoming trains. As far as we know, there was a train/car accidents prior to the bridge being built. However, during the 1968 earthquake, a vehicle ran into the edge of the bridge as it moved up and down resulting in the death of the driver.

Coultard/Hall Memorial

Just prior to Runanga is the Coultard/Hall Memorial. This was the scene of the Runanga Payroll Robbery 9th November 2017. The pay car left Greymouth that morning with the wages and salaries of the miners which totalled almost 4k. Just as the car was about to turn the corner it ran into an obstruction in the middle of the road. The driver Coultard got out of the car in order to remove the obstruction and at that moment a masked man appeared from the bush shouting, “Hands-Up” before firing at Coultard. He died at the scene. The robber then ran to the car and asked for the cash but Hall, who was the mine’s clerk refused to obey and fired two shots from a revolver he carried. The robber shot Hall from close range-so close that Hall’s clothes were on fire when he was tended to after the robbery. James was fired upon by the robber and was hit in the thigh and behind. The robber secured the money before making his escape across the railway lines and out of sight.

Runanga

The township of Runanga was formed in 1904 as a coal mining town. Prior to forming of Runanga the area was covered in native bush but the houses which were built to house the mine workers were built with the timber of the trees which were felled to make way for the township. The town prospered with the opening of several coal mines in the area. A railway line between Greymouth and Runanga was built to transport the coal out of the area. The train also operated passenger services. Runanga had its own train station as did Rerenui which was close to where one of the mines was operating.

Your Camping Hacks in Real Life!

Say the word, “camping” and what do you think? Bugs? Cold weather? Being uncomfortable? Rain? Which of those things do you automatically connect with the word, “camping”? If you chose any of those as the reason for not camping out, you might want to rethink that.

Any and all of those can be changed for you, in a few minutes, after you finish reading this article. Take, “bugs”, for instance. Just because you decide to go camping, that doesn’t mean that you will see a bug or any bug, for that matter. Yes, indeed, you can probably go camping for a day or even a couple of days without seeing any bugs. New idea, correct? How does one go camping and not see bugs? Don’t look! Just kidding. Seriously, I have been on hundreds of camping trips and I have taken many camping adventures without seeing even one bug. And I was looking for the bugs. Even though I believe that bugs belong outdoors, I never want to see any bugs while I am out camping. The way you solve the bug problem is first, by knowing your camp ground. It is by experience that one gains knowledge. And it is by experience that one avoids bugs while camping out. So, here are a few suggestions if you are the type that wants to avoid bugs while camping out.

If you are camping out with children or teenagers, you want to visit the campground before your actual camping trip date. That’s right. Go, by yourself, to the campgrounds to feel the place out. In this way, only one person has the ‘first’ experience and then can either put the “gold” stamp mark on the camping place or put the “let’s avoid” stamp on the campground. So, go first, alone to the camping place. From my own experience, I visited Hecksher State Park in the afternoon, at the camping area. Within less than ten minutes, every limb of mine was covered in mosquito bites. This was my first experience with bugs at a campsite. Though I had been, already, to many other campsites, none of them had mosquitos. So, go first alone, to really know what the campsite is like.
Always carry some form of anti-bug cream or application, or wear mosquito-proof clothing.
Read the safety notices on all chemicals that you apply to your skin or to your clothing.
Always prepare to be lyme-disease free. Wear white sox. Tuck your pants into your sox, and be careful. Always check yourself and your children for any stray ticks. You probably won’t find any but always keep on checking. Better safe than sorry. Lyme disease is out there and lyme -disease carrying insects are out there also. But never let that keep you from camping out.
Most important! Whenever you enter or leave your tent, always make sure that door is zippered up securely. That is your defense against those insects that might want to get out of the outdoors and into your tent.
Set up a small tent for your ‘equipment’ or games or toys. This will give the insects less access to your actual sleeping quarters.

Cold Weather Camping?

Have a good tent with good wind-breaking qualities. Wear clothing that is not cotton. Other synthetics are better for drying. Cotton never dries out so you will be colder if it rains. You don’t want to feel like an snowflake when camping out.
Do not ever use candles indoors — inside of tents.
Always watch that campfire. If you leave the campfire even for a moment, you need to put that fire out. Forest fires are not good!
Buy the very best sleeping bags. This will make the difference between being comfy and being a popsicle when camping out in cold weather.
Camp at sites that are near the city, near a mall. This is a great convenience in the event of an unforseen thunderstorm.