We drove up to the Tasman glacier, which is the longest glacier in NZ at 27km, the oldest at over 18,000 years, and the fastest-melting at 300m per year. We went on a boat trip with Glacier Explorers, and they took us around Lake Tasman to within 600m of the glacier face. Fortunately for us, there had been a "basal calving" just a week ago so there were plenty of ice-bergs on the lake. Even more luckily, a couple of them had turned overnight, exposing the clean, ancient underside of 300-year-old, pressurised, crystal-clear, pure blue ice. I have never seen anything like it.
Here it is, with an older ice-berg beside it for colour comparison.
And with Mount Cook, or Aoraki, in the background:
A close-up of the ice:
A close-up (as close as my camera could get from 600m away) of the edge of Tasman glacier. The top is all covered with gravel for a few km, and that protects it from melting in the sun. See the blue where the ice has broken away recently?
Tomorrow we're going up a mountain in a gondola (ski-lift) and I'm paragliding down. DH hasn't decided what he's doing yet. I think he's checking his life insurance first. :-)