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           Home >  Regions  > Queenstown  :

News from the Tasman Glacier and Shotover River

Jen Andrews - 05/03/09


On a second occasion passengers on Glacier Explorers, Aoraki Mount Cook, experienced the trip of a lifetime.

On February 10 the largest iceberg in 25 years 'calved' from the Tasman Glacier Terminal Face.

On February 2 passengers on a Glacier Explorers boat trip witnessed a huge chunk of turquoise ice calve from an iceberg into the Tasman Glacier's Terminal Lake.

On February 10 passengers on a Glacier Explorers trip witnessed another extraordinary sight

A three metre tidal wave surging down the Tasman Glacier's Terminal Lake was the first indicator of the largest single iceberg in 25 years calving directly from the Tasman Glacier terminal face.

The giant slab of ice or 'calf', estimated to be 250m long by 250m wide by 80m high, plunged into the Terminal Lake in the early afternoon, the most significant single calving in the lake's 25-year existence. A second iceberg about quarter of the size calved from the face shortly afterwards.

Glacier Explorers Operations Manager Bede Ward, whose company takes visitors on boat trips to view the Tasman Glacier face from the water, said the calving happened between trips but made quite a splash.

"The terminal face of the glacier is in quite an active phase at the moment so passengers are getting the trip of a lifetime," he said.

"This new iceberg, which we've christened "The Perfect 10", is absolutely massive and a truly impressive sight. It supersedes the last significant one "Sir Ed" which was on 11 January 2008, the day Sir Edmund Hillary passed away."

"The Perfect 10" cannot be accessed by boat as Glacier Explorers has put a 300m 'safety zone' in place until conditions settle. However visitors can get up close and personal to the smaller iceberg which has floated away from the terminal face.

"We're getting more and more icebergs now so we're naming them in order to track and communicate changes and locations. It also makes for fascinating stories for our passengers," said Mr Ward.

"Since the Terminal Lake began forming in 1973, the Tasman Glacier's retreat has noticeably quickened because the lake is expanding all the time and is causing a more rapid melt of the terminal face. I think we may be looking at major calving from the terminal face as an annual event now."

The new icebergs can also be viewed from the air. One lucky couple, Craig Chambers and Ruth Watson from the United Kingdom, were "over the moon" to get a bird's eye view as they flew back from their wedding location on Liebig Dome which stands at 7600ft at the edge of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.

For more information about Glacier Explorers visit www.glacierexplorers.com

Terminal face calving Aerial view of 'The Perfect 10' (left) and the smaller iceberg (right)
Terminal face calving
Aerial view of "The Perfect 10" (left) and the smaller iceberg (right)
Looking at the lake at the terminal face Craig Chambers and Ruth Watson at their wedding 11/02/09.
Looking at the lake at the terminal face Craig Chambers and Ruth Watson at their wedding 11/02/09.
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Oldest thrillseeker gets ride of a lifetime in Queenstown
At 96 years young, Otto Lazar has proven you're never too old to be a thrillseeker in Queenstown.

Mr Lazar, an Austrian who's been living in Melbourne for the past 60 years, yesterday (18 February) became the oldest passenger Shotover Jet has taken in its 39 years of operation.

He pronounced the world's most exciting jet boat ride "the highlight of my life!"

Here on an 18-day tour, this is Mr Lazar's fourth visit to New Zealand and second visit to Queenstown.

After learning about Mr Lazar's ride, Shotover Jet General Manager Clark Scott (Scotty) arrived at the Novotel Queenstown Lakeside this morning to present him with a few mementos of his trip before he moved on to Milford Sound.

"What a character!" said Scotty. "He's as sharp as a tack and has a great attitude to life. We're looking forward to taking him out again - he'll get a free ride anytime he wants one."

Mr Lazar's youthful "go get 'em" attitude sees him still working as a director of a finance company and doing a big international trip at least once a year. He's off to Alaska next year but he's definitely coming back to Queenstown for another go on Shotover Jet.

"It was the best situation I've ever been in," he said. "Once was not enough I'll be back for more!"

For more information about Shotover Jet go to info@shotoverjet.co.nz

Scotty and Otto Lazar Otto Lazar on Shotover Jet
Scotty and Otto Lazar Otto Lazar on Shotover Jet
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