Tuesday – Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson, and up to Hokitika

First stop from the township of Fox Glacier was a brief excursion out to Lake Matheson. Unfortunately it was a little cloudy that morning so the views of Mount Cook reflected in the lake (like you see on all the postcards) were a little elusive. However, the view was still good.

Mount Cook reflected in Lake Matheson

A closer view of Mount Cook

Then we returned to visit Fox Glacier itself. We were surprised at how filthy it was, naively expecting a pristine white wall of ice. This may be how it is up top, but by the time it reaches the bottom of the valley it has collected hundreds of tons of debris from rock falls and erosion, and the bottom section is a filthy mixture of rock and ice.

Fox Glacier

It is hard to get the size from this photo. Here is a close up of part of the lower glacier where a guided party of tourists are walking on the ice.

People on Fox Glacier – get the size of the thing now?

The Fox River emerges from a small ice cave at the foot of the glacier (all the melt-water tends to drain down through crevaces in the glacier and emerge at the foot of the ice wall at ground level). The river carries boulders of ice with it. The ones below are just small ones, but chunks the size of a camper van fall off the front face daily!

Ice boulders

From Fox we drove north up the coastal highway to Hokitika. As time was short we skipped the Franz Joseph Glacier, and made it to Hokitika early evening in time to pitch tent and burn some chicken on the barbeque!

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