Rough Scientists were located on the west coast of New Zealand's
South Island, which covers 151,000 square miles. The west
coast is a rugged stretch of coastline, part of the Westland
National Park, where the land is dramatic and lush, the beaches
pebbled and rocky, overlooked by ice covered mountain peaks.
The area is peppered with crystal clear lakes, which act as
mirrors to the peaks and surrounding landscape, and an extensive
network of rivers meander their way around the island.
boasts 27 mountains, the tallest being Mount Cook, at 3,755
meters (12,320 feet), located on the South Island, and is the highest peak
in Australasia. The South Island lies upon two tectonic plates,
which collide with each other, resulting in an effect called
'crystal shortening'. This has caused the Southern Alps to
rise in a line, virtually the length of the island, while
landslides are also a feature of the environment.
island also has some amazing forests and provides some of
the most extensive areas of lowland eco-systems in New Zealand
including kahikatea, beech and mimu forests, and upland forests
comprising southern rata, kamahi, silver and mountain beech
and alpine species.
most dramatic off all the attractions is the Franz Josef Glacier
which also lies within the Westland National Park and can
move up to 5 meters (16.4 feet) a day, although generally it moves at
the rate of 1 meter (3.3 feet) a day. Many glaciers world-wide have been
retreating, but this amazing glacier continues to flow almost
at sea level, through a temperate rainforest. This incredible
combination of ice and temperate rain forest is unique, both
in relation to New Zealand's glaciers and in providing an
ecosystem unknown anywhere else in the world.
is against this stunning backdrop, in the Westland National
Park that a disused sawmill was located, (a few miles from
the town of Franz Josef), which acted as the base for the
Rough Scientists to conduct their experiments for six weeks.
They resided there over July and August (which is winter in
New Zealand), when temperatures are in the region of 0-10 degrees
celcius (32-50°F) and rainfall can be 50-60 mm (2-2.4 inches) per month. The annual
rainfall amounts to about 5 meters (197 inches) and the winds on the west
coast can be icy, when driven from Antarctica. Our Rough Scientists
needless to say, went packed with some serious warm clothing
for them to survive a New Zealand winter.