Icebergs, like the image below from 2006, are heading towards the South Island. Image / NZ Defence Force.
The large mass of icebergs spotted last week continues to drift north from Antarctica towards New Zealand, and could possibly reach the South Island.
Glaciologist Neil Young said the closest he had detected the icebergs was around 280km southwest of Auckland Island.
“If you draw a triangle from New Zealand to Australia to Antarctica, they are roughly in the middle.
“I can anticipate they will reach New Zealand but I wouldn’t care to predict it. How far they get depends on their size and the state of the ocean.
“But they are getting closer.”
In the past week, at least four icebergs have been spotted off the east and west coasts of Macquarie Island, ranging in size from 50m to an estimated 2km long.
Mr Young said it looked like there were at least 20 icebergs around the island, spread over a 1000km by 1000km area.
Southerly winds over the last few months would have helped the icebergs drift so far north, he said.