This morning was sunny, just a bit of cloud, but no sign of the forecast rain. We drove to Fox Glacier for a walk to the ice. Fox is about 20km south of Franz Josef, around more winding mountain roads with more single lane bridges – and more roadworks (we’ve driven through a few). The glacier is a lot closer to the carpark than Franz, you can see it quite well as you drive in. We walked out as close as we could and took 300-400 photos. That puts us at about five and a half thousand photos so far.
Once again the ice river was amazing to see.
The clouds were starting to move lower by the time we got back to the car, the tops of the mountains didn’t exist anymore.
We stopped in Fox township for some lunch then drove out to Lake Matheson for a walk around the lake. The postcard pictures of Lake Matheson show incredibly perfect reflections of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman in the lake. Those photos were taken on a clear, calm day. Today there was a slight breeze rippling the surface and while it didn’t rain, it definitely wasn’t clear. You could barely even tell that the mountains were there, the cloud was so low. Regardless, the 1.5 hour walk was pleasant, though the lack of birds is quite disappointing. There are some pretty tall trees that elsewhere you’d expect to see some pretty big birds. We saw blackbirds, a few small robin/flycatcher type birds (not many) a couple of cheeky fantails and several other small birds of indeterminate breed. The highlight was a short musical interlude put on by 2 tuis and 3 bellbirds. We’ll have to review the photos before we know whether we caught them or not.
The air was starting to feel damp, almost a light drizzle, by the time we walked back to the car and headed back to Franz Joseph. There was some whispy low mist along the road, but nothing noteworthy (even though I just made note of it). We didn’t bother with the helicopter flight, the visibility and weather just weren’t up to it.
A quick walk through of the souvenir shop before a visit to the supermarket made me glad I bought my t-shirt at the DOC shop at Pancake rocks yesterday. The same top was $20 dearer than I paid for it. Needless to say, we didn’t buy anything.