Tour of South Island – Day 3
Wednesday 9th February
We had a good nights sleep in the hostel and the next morning we awoke to blue skies. We packed our stuff up quickly and headed towards Fox glacier but stopped at Lake Matheson on the way. Lake Matheson is also known as the mirror lake because if you get there between 6am and 9am before the wind starts up it’s possible to see beautiful reflections of a snow capped Mount Cook. We made it by 8am and almost ran around to the viewing point. The reflections were there but a cloud covered Mount Cook just as we arrived – doh! We continued the walk right round the lake, thankfully the rain seems to have gone.
We walked back to the car for breakfast and then continued into the village to walk to Fox Glacier.
The spectacle of this giant river of ice as it cuts through dramatic glacial valleys is captivating. The Fox glacier grinds its way down onto the glacial moraine at a rate from 1 – 4 metres a day and while many glaciers have been retreating Fox glacier still flows almost to sea level.
In the last ice age the glacier would have filled this valley, if you look carefully at this photo it’s possible to see how small the people are walking across the glacial moraine.
It was an interesting walk to the bottom of the ice.
The river flowing out from under the ice was running very fast with large lumps of ice in it, which were being deposited further down the moraine.
We continued to drive south on the coast road to Haast, southern gateway to the West coast. It’s one of the most scenic drives in the country. We passed so many shades of green and blue in a variable landscape of rainforest, wetlands and glacier fed rivers. Our camp that evening was at Cameron flats in the middle of the Mount Aspiring national park on a raised area looking north over the Haast river towards a snow capped Mount Hooker.
We had it to ourselves and it was just stunning but we had our first introduction to Sandflies.