Franz Josef/Fox Glacier
18 Nov 2006
|Saturday 18th November 2006
Early bus down the coast to the glaciers. The raining continued and we had to take a couple of detours around the flooding. Wouldn't be surprised if the Buller Gorge gets closed off as the river was starting to reach road level. Made stops at Hokitiki and Greymouth and got into Franz Josef at about 5pm at which point I checked into the Glow Worm Cottages and promptly fell asleep, missing the free soup - sitting on a bus is really tiring you know.
Sunday 19th November 2006
Got down to the DOC office nice and early do check out the walk I had planned to a great view of the glacier to find it had been closed due to flooding so I end up heading out to another track I hadn't wanted to do because it was pretty long and steep. Any hoo took in Lake Wombat on the way and headed up the Alex Knob track which made me feel like a hobbit as the path was all furry and green and the steps were quite steep. The only people I passed were those coming down saying they "hadn't found the top and it only gets wetter up there". I carried on and enjoyed two viewpoints of cloud and mist, stopped at some point to enjoy a vegemite sandwich and headed back down. Who knows if the top was just around the corner - but I never found it!
Monday 20th November 2006
Took the Douglas track out towards the glacier which meant crossing a couple of streams (more like raging rivers in my book!) but made it with only one soggy boot. Couldn't get very close to the glacier as the flooding had may it impossible to walk up the river bed but got a reasonable view from the platforms. Grabbed the 5pm bus down to Fox glacier and checked into Ivory Towers.
Tuesday 21st November 2006
Took a walk out of Fox village to Lake Matheson which is famous for it's reflection of Mount Tasman in the calm waters. Only thing was the mountain was covered in cloud by the time I got there but I got some nice pictures of cows!?!
Wednesday 22nd November 2006
Got kitted up with crampons and boarded the old 1950's bus for Fox Glacier. Pretty long steep walk up to the access point, through landslide areas which we went through in small groups. The guide pointed out a 10 tonne boulder in the valley that had recently become airborne on it's way off the mountain. Spend a couple of hours out on the ice with Graham the guide carving out steps on the way. Went through a few crevaces (don't think I've spelled that correctly?), took a look in some big holes and laughed at some unguided tourists who thought ignoring the danger signs and walking into a melting ice cave was a good idea.