George and Rosemary in Australia and New Zealand travel blog

Coast near Greymouth

River near Franz Josef

River near Franz Josef

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

Mounts Cook and Tasman from Lake Matheson

Lake Matheson

Lake Matheson


Rosemary's wrist was still swollen so our first priority was to go to a hospital. The one at Greymouth was friendly and helpful. After x-raying the wrist they found that it was sprained and provided a wristguard.

After Greymouth we drove along a flat and rather featureless coast until we were nearly at the mountains. The first signs were several wide stony rivers which we crossed. By this time we were getting used to the narrow one-way bridges which exist even on main roads. In a couple of places we had to share the bridge with the railway line.

Our lunch stop was beside a beautiful pale blue river full of ice particles. The stop was short as we were immediately attacked by nasty sandflies.

Further south we came to Franz Josef Glacier Village crammed with tourist shops and hotels. Just beyond was the turning to the Glacier itself. We drove up to the car park and then took the trail through the woods. Suddenly we reached a viewpoint from where we could see the Glacier coming down to fill most of the end of the valley. The valley in front was strewn with stones and boulders. We followed the path through this bleak area to get as close as was safe to the Glacier. The signs gave alarming threats of what could happen to people getting too close to the foot of the glacier. We had seen TV items about tourists ignoring warnings in areas where large chunks of ice regularly fall off. The great river of ice coming down from the mountains was most impressive.

After our walk it was good that our next journey was only a few miles to the village of Fox Glacier where we to stay in the Rainforest Motel. Later in the evening we went to Lake Matheson to see the view of the mountains across the water and the refections in the lake. Even later we went into the forest to see the thousands of tiny points of light produced by glow-worms.



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